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Alternative Setups For The Single Leg

Alternative Setups For The Single Leg

The single leg is quite unique in that it is both the simplest and most complex takedown in all of grappling. Seems a bit oxymoronic right? How can a technique both be simple and complex?

Take a students first day of wrestling, there will be warm ups, conditioning and going over the different positions and the system of scoring points in a match. All matches start standing so the logical progression to teach scoring is from a takedown. After the student has been taught their wrestling stance and basic movement the next progression for wrestlers in the United States is learning to shoot takedowns.

This involves changing levels (squatting in the stance) taking a penetrating step to the outside of the lead leg and driving the front knee forward. Then wrapping a leg and elevating.Overall the idea is simple, grab the leg that is closest and lift right? At youth level’s this is the case and perfect to start with, but as you go up in divisions getting that leg isn't as easy. 

This is what will make or break a great wrestler. The ability to adapt to new defenses and still create offense is what will separate multiple time state champions and those who can't quite make it to the podium.

Approaching a high level match requires technique, speed, strength and alot of determination. Imposing the will of a wrestler onto another is no easy feat. To increase the chances of a successful single the concept of deception is not a poor idea. Hand fighting is a great way to start off. 

Matt McDonough  has a few options to start creating unique openings that will have any wrestler attacking more successfully. You can check out his sweep single instructional here! 

Once you have initiated into a handfight or a tie, you need to exploit the openings that you create with your movement. Sticking with Matt let us take a look at three options he likes to go with after the handfight. 


The first option Matt goes with is slick. Off an attempted 2 on 1 (russian) he has wrist control and is pulling on his partners tricep in an attempt to get an angle or better grip. His partner is doing a textbook defense by trying to stay square to Matt.

Now the filth comes, Matt keeps the pull on the tricep and steps long and attacks the far leg. The reason Matt has time for this far side shot is the pull on the tricep anchors his partners weight to the other foot effectively removing some of their capability to move and counter. 

Check out more sweet single leg variations! Click Learn More!



The second set up uses a similar concept of circling but instead of two on one control Matt has control of his partners head, pushing it down and circling out. The trick is to be quick on the next set of moves. 

Matt releases the head, and simultaneously changes his level and shoots for a sweep single to the near side leg, going back the direction he had just circled from. The difference is in the finish. Matt ends up completely on the back side with his partners leg already up and in some cases shelved on his own leg.

The last variant Matt shows is often referred to as a push/pull single off the underhook. He sets up the same as the last technique. Keeping the head down and circling, this time his partner start fighting his arms. Matt digs a deep underhook.

Once he has the underhook he pushes with his shoulder then pulls hard on the shoulder. Once his partner moves forward he drops down and the underhook wraps the knee and the other grabs the ankle. Using his head he drives into his partner lifting his leg. 

If you play with these three singles it will certainly inspire a more active period of wrestling. Matt wrestled at Iowa for the Hawkeyes, and that means he wrestled under the “Gable Rule”. Non stop wrestling Whistle to Whistle. 

While wrestling at Iowa his coaches were Olympic medalist and brothers Tom and Terry brands. Those two pushed Matt to be aggressive with a skillset he was already good at. The sweep single. At the end of his NCAA career he was 122-9 with two national titles and a three time All American. *As a note there is a very good chance Matt was going to make All American all four years but a nasty shoulder injury kept him from making the top 8 his senior year. *

The Bread & Butter Sweep Single by Matt McDonough

Check out Matt’s NEW instructional available NOW!