High School Wrestling: My 10 Favorite Moves

I never used throws in my wrestling career. Throws just weren’t my thing. High amplitude throws look cool and can score a wrestler 5 points quickly and maybe even result in a pin. But, throws are also high risk moves. Throws are high-risk, high-reward moves. Investing in commodities is also a high-risk, high-reward endeavor. I’d rather put my money into a savings account or a CD with an assured rate of return on my investment.

Similarly, in the sport of wrestling I’d rather put my practice time to use on drilling double legs, single legs, and stand-ups. In the sport of football, you see a lot of hand-offs and short passes. You don’t often see trick plays or really long passes (i.e. the bomb). Often a team will kick a field goal instead of trying for the touchdown because the field goal is more of a sure thing. I think you see what I’m getting at. It’s good to learn throws and counters to throws. However, usually the fundamentals win wrestling matches. This is probably a message you have heard before. Ninety percent of the time, you will probably use the same moves. You may use a different version of the move or set it up differently, but use the same basic move nonetheless.

I had a teammate in junior high who liked to headlock everyone he wrestled. That worked in junior high, but it stopped working in high school. If you’re good at throws then go for it. But, most NCAA champions and freestyle Olympic champions are not throwers. Watch a video of John Smith or Tom Brands and see how often they do a throw. I don’t think I’ve ever seen either wrestler do a throw in competition.

Most of the following moves can easily be found online or in books. Several are featured in online videos. I’m sure you know all of these moves. They are basic moves. But, fundamental moves win matches which is why everyone uses them. The key is to find the proper techniques for applying these moves. Remember the importance of setting your moves up and not just wildly shooting takedowns. Be aware of your position at all times. Don’t try to emulate other wrestlers or do moves just because your coach thinks they are good. Find out what works for you. Take the time to learn your craft (i.e. wrestling). Don’t be lured in by fancy moves or instant gratification. Practice and drill fundamental moves religiously. Don’t spend time in practice or in competition performing moves that are only likely to work two percent of the time. Now then, here are my ten favorite moves.

1. Double leg takedown

The double leg is one of the first moves I learned. The double leg is one of the first moves most wrestlers learn. The sport of judo has a similar technique known as morote- gari (two-handed reap or double leg grab). What could be more basic than tackling someone by grabbing both of his legs? Kids probably do it all of the time. Of course, it’s a bit more difficult than that. Proper technique is required. You don’t want to get overextended. You opponent could snap you down and spin around or put you in a front headlock. Therefore, make sure that you take a deep penetration step while keeping your hips under you. Some wrestlers like to drive through their opponents and some like to lift their opponent off the ground to finish the double leg. In junior high we were always told, “On a double leg you keep your head on the outside Moving company amsterdam. On a single leg you keep your head on the inside.” Sometimes you can lock your hands while doing a double leg and then use your head as a pry to take your opponent down. I had a high school teammate who used the double leg takedown 99% of the time when he was on his feet. He placed third in the state tournament during his senior year. Sometimes you can get away with doing the same move repeatedly when you’re really good at it. You can often switch off to a double leg after performing a high crotch. The double leg is a fairly low-risk move. If you don’t finish it, you often simply end up back on your feet again. Former UFC champion Matt Hughes executed double legs in matches often and slammed his opponents to the canvas. Mixed martial artists often learn how to perform a double leg. Of course, you can’t slam your opponent in folkstyle wrestling. But, the double leg takedown is a great move. The double leg is a high percentage move (i.e. it often works).

2. Single leg takedown

The single leg is another basic takedown. I used primarily single leg takedowns in high school. There are numerous ways to set up and finish a single leg. The single leg is also a high percentage move. Push and pull your opponent causing him to bring the leg you want to attack forward. Make him “heavy” on the foot you want to attack. Lower your level and shoot in with your hips under you as a strong foundation. Keep your head inside and get an angle off to his side. Or, don’t tie up and simply make sure you are close enough to perform your shot without getting overextended. I think it’s fairly easy to shoot a single leg. I think the real secret is being able to finish it. You may have to pivot around and grab his far ankle. You may have to get his ankle on your knee to help you lift his leg. You may have to tripod up and then do a “boot scoot.” Spend a lot of time working on your ties, set-ups, and finishes for single legs and other takedowns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *