Extended High Crotch Finish With Nathan Tomasello
Nathan Tomasello was a four time big ten conference champion, four time all-american and Nation Champion for the Ohio State Buckeyes. In high school, he notched 4 state championships in Ohio while wrestling for Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. Any time you tune in to a NATO match, you are highly likely to see him make use of probably the best lefty high crotch in the game. He consistently got onto the trail leg of his opponents in order to score, and when you’re faced with the top ranked wrestlers in the nation this is no easy task, but watching Tomasello you’d think it was.
So who better to create The High Crotch Takedown Manual, exclusively sold on Fanatic Wrestling, created by Nathan Tomasello to cover the high crotch. Every setup, finish and even pinning combination in this instructional is built around the high crotch, so if you want to improve your shot, this is as close as it gets to mandatory film to study. In the following clip, NATO shows one of the finishes to the shot, in a scenario that will likely come up in your matches: getting extended off of your shot attempt.
The High Crotch
The three fundamental takedowns of wrestling: the double leg, the single leg, and the head outside single leg, or as it’s more commonly called, the high crotch. It’s essentially a middle ground between the double and head inside single, with easy routes to finish for both, depending on your opponent’s reaction. This offers the high crotch a level of efficiency the single leg doesn’t tend to be conducive to, while a myriad of setups that would be unavailable for a double leg. The following finish begins in a bad position for any variation of a single leg finish, so NATO takes it to a double. And even finishes with an opening for back points.
This clip basically offers a finish that is a quick fix to an issue many wrestlers have: when you shoot a high crotch and your opponent sprawls heavily, you use your biceps to pull the leg in. Rather than contesting his leg with your biceps, which are a much smaller muscle group and as such offer less leverage, Nathan shows that you should keep your arms stiff and use your lats to pull the leg in. Your lats are a much larger muscle group and the stiff arms give you more leverage to control the hip. Secondly, any time you enter the pseudo-backdoor position shown in the clip, or even a regular backdoor, the biggest problem your opponent presents is far ankle scrambling.
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Tomasello’s fix is 1) the lats pulling rather than the biceps, as when you pull with the biceps rather than elevating your opponent you just pull their hips into you, and now they can drape over the top and grab ankles, instead of elevating their hips and preventing the scramble. 2) make sure to be sitting on your heels before you swing the legs. This is a common tip regarding far ankle scrambles, but with a high crotch you no longer have your head in the way to stop your opponent from getting both legs to one side and posting to use the ankle to disrupt your base, so it’s a good idea to emphasize in this position.
All that aside, in terms of the actual finish, your shot ended up in a pretty bad position. Your arms are extended over your head, your head is down under his leg, and your opponent is in relatively better position. It’s key that you keep the lock. To paraphrase a quote from another fanatic wrestling athlete, Matt McDonough, once you get a lock on that leg it’s your leg, not his.
NATO pulls the leg in with his lats as he also straightens his posture, getting his head up and out to the side, ending in a modified back door position. He then swings the target leg towards the side with his head, and his inside hand leaves the lock and catches the knee. Outside foot can step up, but basically you finish like a double leg, shoulder in his chest, elevate the legs.
The goal is to keep the hip pinned, and you’ll notice Nathan’s lock gets higher on the legs as he finishes, so he can have more leverage to keep the legs elevated. This opens up a window to get to a Turk, as your opponent has two options: turn away to get his belly to the mat, or turn towards you. The first option is essentially moot as long as you have your head on the outside and a tight lock. The second option will open a window to step through, hook the bottom leg, and get near fall points. It could even make a bottom leg cradle open up, and any time a takedown can take you straight to a pin it’s a position you will want to master.
Again, for those looking to improve their high crotch, this instructional is as good as it gets. Setups are everything for a takedown, and this series covers: post setups, misdirects, underhooks, and defensive options from the downblock and finishes including crackdowns, lifts, and naturally the position broken down in this article.
If you struggle to convert quickly on your leg attacks, or frequently get caught in crotch locks, the back side or extended, pick up the High Crotch Takedown Manual and no longer stress at the thought of these scramble positions. Outside of a full clinic, which can be rather expensive and frankly impossible during a pandemic depending on your state, this knowledge for the price is unbeatable.