An Interview With Dan Vallimont
Interviewer: For new wrestlers which one of your instructionals would be most beneficial to their development?
Dan Vallimont: I would say it really depends on the wrestler. “I think it is really important for a wrestler to have a fundamental attack to each leg and I also think it is important to have solid baseline defense and position” Dan continues about what wrestlers need in their game “A shot to each leg , baseline defense, a breakdown, a turn and a escape”
Dan explains that most of his success as a two time All American came from the neutral position and that is why his instructionals all start from neutral. To answer the question about which instructional would be best for new wrestlers Dans response was this “The one about defensive fundamentals is a really good starting point for a lot of guys. To figure out how defense works learning how to use your head (position) and defend properly.
Interviewer: Is that the one that talks about clearing ties to create action?
Dan: “No the clearing ties are separate, which is also a really good one. They play off each other a little bit. Clearing ties is learning how to hand fight a little bit but not just hand fight but turning your opponent's attack into something you can score with”Check it out here!
Interviewer: Why the defensive fundamentals for beginners?
Dan:” I would say it's a good one, it's not the most exciting stuff people want to see offense but I think it is a really important part of wrestling learning baseline defensive techniques. Learning how to stop the guy with your head and how to down block. We have some drills in there, I am almost 34 years old and I am still doing these drills I learned as a little kid. A lot of guys don't learn how to defend properly. They have a sprawl, and that’s good but there is so much more to it. So they need a little bit more direction with it. “
Interviewer: Sometimes that is too late right? (Referring to the sprawl)
Dan: “Yeah if a guy is good at finishing you never want them on your legs, especially at the level I am at now senior level/ International level if a guy gets to your legs it can be as you said too late. So learning how to use your head and your hands is really important.”
Continuing on about his instructional series he has made.
Dan: Each of my videos focus on a specific area (of wrestling) The only one that jumps around a bit (covering multiple topics) was the very first one I did the Russian Tie formula hit on a bunch of different areas on my offense. It doesn't go really into depth on anything except the two on one and while filming we branched off into a few different things, so that one has the most variety in it” “So for people who are looking for a little bit more than just the two on one.” This is the video to get. Just look at the table of contents and you will see the depth that is gone into.
Dan started to cover each of his instructionals and how they would fit into each wrestlers individual game.
“Clearing ties and creating offense your working on removing the tie 2 on1 underhook or collar tie, turn it into your own tie up but not only that but create your own offense out of it.”
“The underhook formula which is all offense from the underhook. With Left underhook and right underhook”
Dominating the Front Headlock “Front headlock and short offense is another one that is really useful, not so much as at the youth level but highschool and the even college level you see this as a problem. Someone shoots on you and the default setting is to look for a stalemate when you have them in the front headlock. If you have the front headlock you are in an opportunistic position and you should be looking to score all too often guys are just too content to sit there and get a restart.”
“That whole video focuses on using that front headlock and short offense because so many points are left on the mat in that position”
“Don’t leave the points on the mat, win the position and break your opponent and punish them for taking a bad shot.”
Interviewer: What pitfalls should wrestlers stepping into the higher levels like College or the Senior level look out for?
Dan: “A combination of giving your opponent too much respect or not enough on the mat. Being prepared mentally, you have to be ready when you go to step on the mat to wrestle a full grown man. You cannot be lackadaisical about it.”
This lead Dan to another point he wanted to touch on
Dan: “Do not be afraid to take action and score. Look for opportunities not being frozen, I have battled with at different times in my career, big match and afraid to make a mistake. That is a self fulfilling prophecy when you don't do anything, when you don't do anything it is really hard to score.”
Interviewer: What is your routine like preparing for the US Nationals?
Dan: This year is a little different with covid. The week before we have already done our work. Now it is all about weight management and getting the body to feel good. Last week we got the last of our hard practices going in and spiking the heart rate and getting the live wrestling in. This week is more fine tuning and prepping for specific opponents and again weight management.
Dan continues about pitfalls of prepping for matches at the senior level.
Dan: “There are guys who will overtrain at this time, when they get to the long two day tournament and their body can’t recover quick enough. It is kinda towing that line where you don’t want a full week off but you also don’t want to run your body into the ground. It is all about trial and error. “
Dan has been wrestling out at the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center with Brandon Sleigh. He is heading into the US Nationals to make his run for a US Olympic Spot.
We want to thank Dan for his time during this interview and apologize for not being able to get everything we talked about on this short format.
We Wish Dan the best of luck this weekend and his future bid for the US Olympic Team!
Check out Dan's Collection of instructionals!