Fake Single to Ankle Pick by Dan Vallimont
Think about your day-to-day life. Do you tend to do one thing throughout the day, or multiple things that work in tandem together? More than likely it’s the latter, where you iron your clothes to look nice for your job in order to make money to support your family to make them happy. That may seem like a broad concept for a wrestling article, but notice what those individual events do when placed together. They chain together, building upon each other to accomplish a goal. Your takedowns need to be the same way in that trying one move over and over is an exercise in futility.
Chaining moves together does not have to mean committing to your first takedown. One of the best ways to do so is by using fakes. As shown in the video below, NCAA finalist Dan Vallimont breaks down a fake single leg attempt into a successful ankle pick.
2-on-1 and Positioning
The first part of Dan’s chain is establishing outside positioning on his opponent. He does this by peeling their collar tie off and turning it into a 2-on-1 Russian tie. The benefit here is that you can cut an angle on your opponent and threaten to attack the near-side leg. He’s maintaining pressure on the opponent’s shoulder to keep their posture low, making them vulnerable to any slide-bys or drags. However, the purpose here is just to feint the single leg.
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Faking the Single Leg
Part of faking a takedown is not to over commit to the move. Doing so puts your body out of position and makes it easy for your opponent to respond defensively. Dan’s fake looks simple, but it’s very effective. He simple steps behind his opponent’s near-side leg with his leg. This goes back to the importance of that outside positioning where you can attack the near side, but if you look at it from the opponent’s perspective it shows that you would need to step back to open the angle up. The opponent does just that, stepping back with their near leg and putting substantial pressure on their far leg. This is the reaction Dan needs in order to hit his ankle pick.
Hitting the Ankle Pick
If wrestling is a game of angles, then the ankle pick is perhaps the best representation of that concept. The ankle pick is most effective when you finish diagonally across your opponent’s plane. Normally, the takedown would be accomplished with the hand closest to the ankle. Dan’s approach is different and quite safer. Once he makes the initial step behind the opponent’s leg to fake the single, he draws his far leg in and brings his near leg behind the opponent’s far ankle. He does this to avoid widening his stance too much, so this sashay motion simply moves his stance further inside. To finish the ankle pick from here, Dan trips the ankle up with his leg while pushing the 2-on-1 across the plane. As he does this, his free hand catches the ankle and brings it to his knee for safekeeping.
As a high-level wrestler, you must know how to chain moves together effectively in order to keep the action going and to disorientate your opponent. The perfect example of this is Dan Vallimont’s fake single leg to ankle pick, as he transitions from a 2-on-1 to a feint to a finish all in a matter of seconds. Try it out and see how many moves you can combine to make your chain longer.
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