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Thanks Manny....Yeah - you got it on being where you need to be when you need to be there. Not bad if all the mats are in one location but for this one tournament I shoot (which will probably start next week), there are mats in the gym and then there are mats at the other end of the school in the cafeteria which is a 2-3 minute walk.
As for being on / off the mat....I've never been asked to move off....in fact there were a few times the refs saw me right off the mat sitting on the floor and they told me to move onto the mat for more comfort. I normally like to sit on the mat when shooting but during these tournaments....the edges sometimes get a little crowded with some of the other wrestlers being spectators. But for the most part as long as you are not way onto the mat and only at the edge....there is no problem. This could differ throughout the country though.
For these shots, it was an individual meet with two teams and I was sitting on the floor about 3 feet off the mat..on the corner. In this case....there really wasn't much real estate to choose from. Two sides of the mat had the wrestlers benches and the other two sides were the cheerleaders. So I had three corners to pick from and the reason I took this location is I usually find out before the event, what position the wrestlers are in when they are down. I like them to be facing me....the results of #3. Sometimes it works...sometimes I'm seeing the back sides...
For the tournaments and invitationals....normally there aren't cheerleaders to contend with but there are other obstacles....such as a scoring table and clock for each mat, another table for the media sports writers, another table or a line of folding chairs for the officials. An then there are the officials. Regular season there is one referee. For these bigger events, there are 2 per mat and if there are 10 mats, there are at least 20 officials plus a few extras for relief for these guys.
The best thing though is get there early....at least 60 minutes before it starts and find the person in charge and get the do's, don'ts and whatever else in between from them.