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Defensive Based Warm Up With Zach Tanelli

Defensive Based Warm Up With Zach Tanelli

The ability to stop and defend against a takedown is just as, if not in the eyes of some people, more important than the ability to competently go for one. Being able to defend against what your opponent is a solid way to gain control on them, because if nothing that your opponent does scares you, then you already have a huge advantage over them. 

In order to have a strong defense, you are going to need to do a lot of drilling, this is where it can get hard as drilling defense is more complicated and difficult than drill offense, which is more straightforward and generally more enjoyable. While it might not be as fun or as sexy as drilling takedowns or just flat out wrestling, defense and confidence in that defence is what will allow you to confidently attack without fear of what your opponent might do. 

On that note let’s look at a video where wrestling coach Zach Tanelli shows some simple drills for defense that can be incorporated into your warm ups to help you prepare for a training session and work your defense at the same time. 


This drill is a shadow wrestling drill that helps prepare you for any shots that your opponent can take and it is a drill that takes a lot of different techniques into account to make sure you are prepared for whatever your opponent throws at you. 

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This drill revolves around the downblock. Coach Tanelli starts off the video by emphasizing the importance of footwork and linking your hands and your feet, almost like puppet strings, to really nail down this drill. 

The drill revolves around you visualizing that your opponent is shooting for either single legs or high crotches. This drill also takes into account both stances your opponent can be in, depending on if they have their right leg or left leg forward. If you have your left leg forward while shadow wrestling with this drill and you’re visualizing a right leg forward wrestler shooting at you, you’re going to pull your lead leg back and drop your lead hand. If your opponent is a right hand lead and going for a high crotch you're going to pull back your rear leg while rotating and touch your lead hand to the floor. 

The same will go for attacks by a wrestler with their left leg forward just in the reverse with you in the other stance as well. You're going to pull your right leg back and drop the hand if they’re going for a single leg and if they are going for a high crotch, you’re going to pull back and rotate your left leg, which is now in the rear and drop your hand. 

While your shadow wrestling this drill, you can go through these techniques one at a time individually or you can do what Zach Tanelli recommends and do all four of these techniques at once as a set. 

This drill can be done as a warm up, either before practice or before a competition, or as a cooldown to help solidify some techniques from training. 

Winning First Contact by Zach Tanelli
If you want to learn more drills and tips like this then check out our complete video set from coach Zach Tanelli, available now!