8 Drills To Take Your Wrestling To The Next Level
To get better at wrestling, you need to be doing drills. There are so many different wrestling drills a person can and often times people fall into a pattern of doing the same drills over and over, but this may not be the best use of you time in practice. Plus, if you are only doing the same drills, you may hit a point where you feel like you aren’t really improving. Here are eight drills to help you take your wrestling to the next level.
Shot Re-Shot Drill
The first drill on the list is a shot/re-shot drill. If you are not familiar with this, you can do it both offensively or defensively. To drill it offensively, grab a partner and have them block your first shot attempt. Then, while your level is still low take another shot. You can change the type of shots you are looking for each time too. You may start with a double leg, then re-shoot with an outside sweep single. You can even have your partner change up how many shots they block so it may take you two or up to five shots before you get in on a leg.
To do this drill defensively, have your partner take a shot and this time you block them. Once you block their shot, as soon as the start to raise their level to come back up into a stance, you take a shot on them. Using the motion of your opponent’s shots as a setup is a great way to score takedowns. If you want to see this in action, check out some of Jordan Burroughs’ matches. He utilizes re-shots better than anyone in the world.
The next drill you can add is a cradle drill. You can start with your partner sitting with their knees bent, like they just hit a sitout from the bottom. Then practice going from one side to the other and each time locking up either a near side cradle or a farside cradle. When you feel that you have that down, you can have your partner move around on bottom and look to lock up cradles from the different positions they move to. This drill will help you to notice how many opportunities there are in a match to lock up cradles and there are a lot, but if you haven’t trained yourself to see them in the moment, when the opportunity presents itself, you will miss it.
Shot Transition Drill
Being able to smoothly transition from single legs to doubles and vice versa is an important skill in wrestling. To do this drill, get in on either a single leg or a double leg. Then, work on driving into your partner while they use their hips to pressure back into you. While you are driving them back, be sure to keep your head up and you hips under you; don’t try to finish the shot.
If you start with a single leg, your head should be on the inside. Your partner will push your head from the inside position to the outside. When they do, transition to a double leg. Begin moving and driving them around in a double leg until they push your head back to the inside, then transition back to single leg. You can keep going back and forth. This drill will help you to stay in good position when you are in on a shot.
Takedown To Pin
Every wrestler practices takedowns and pins, but a great drill to do is hit a takedown and immediately put your partner on their back and look for the pin. You could drill single legs to a half to a pin. Or you could hit a double leg straight into a turk. The combinations of takedowns to pins are endless. By doing this drill, it will train you to automatically look to turn your opponent when you hit a takedown in a match. Check out this video by Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo where he teaches a double leg directly into a turk finish.
Hand Control Drill
Another great drill to incorporate into your training is a hand control from the bottom drill. This is something that wrestlers at every level needs to work on. If you go to any wrestling meet, you will hear coaches yelling at their wrestler to get hand control when they are on the bottom. To do this drill, start out flat on your belly and have your partner get on top and get wrist control. From here, roll your wrists out and establish hand control on both sides. Then, work off your belly all the way to an escape on your feet. Be sure to keep hand control the whole time. As you feel more comfortable with this, have your partner give you some resistance and have them try to break your hand control while you work to escape. If you want to get good escaping from the bottom position, you have to learn to control your opponent’s hands.
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One drill that can really help you out on your feet is clearing ties. To do this drill, get in a stance in front of a partner and have them reach up and try to lock up a collar tie. When you see the reaching, block with your hand and circle to the side they reached with. Then reset back to a neutral position. If they lock on to a collar tie before you can block their arm, then defend that with a shuck off or an over-tie or whatever other way you like to clear a collar tie. When you get comfortable, start clearing the tie then going immediately into a shot. This drill will help you use your opponent’s reach as a set up to your shot and train you to stay out of an ear to ear tie up. Check out this video of Bekzod Abdurakhminov where he teaches a double leg set up by posting up a collar tie.
The next drill will help you get better at top and bottom. A follow drill is when you and your partner start out with one guy on bottom and one guy on top. The guy on bottom tries to move around without stopping by hitting sit outs, granby rolls, hip heists, and whatever else they want to try to escape the guy on top without doing a standup. This will help teach you to continuously move on bottom because in a match, if you just sit on bottom and aren’t trying to move, it makes it easy for your opponent to work pinning combinations on you. Good movement on bottom is key to earning escapes.
This drill also helps the top guy by forcing them to anticipate how the guy on bottom is going to move. Think of it as trying to ride a guy out for the win in double overtime.
Whizzer Single Leg Drill
One very common position that wrestlers at all levels find themselves in is holding onto a single leg while there opponent defends it with a whizzer. Since this is such a common position, it makes sense to practice what to do when you get in it. So you lock up a single leg and let your partner get in on a whizzer. From there, at a slow pace, practice different finishes and defenses to the whizzer. When you feel comfortable with them, increase the intensity until you are basically going at a live pace.
Hopefully these drills will take your wrestling the next level. It is currently the off season, so starting to incorporate them now will give you a big advantage when wrestling starts this fall. If you would like to learn more wrestling drills, be sure to check out the video series “The Ultimate Folkstyle Coaches Manual By Mike Malinconico”.