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Finish the Back Side Single Leg with Matt McDonough

Finish the Back Side Single Leg with Matt McDonough


With all the hustle and bustle surrounding wrestling, it’s easy to get carried away with all of the fun moves that look good on camera. A lot of high risk, high reward moves exist, and people will go for these a lot of the time just to go for that big throw, shot finish, or whatever will look flashy to the people watching. More often than not, though, these grandiose moves that catch the eye of anyone watching aren’t as beneficial for you winning as they are for pumping your ego. 

In wrestling, you can never forget the basics. Drilling moves like high crotches, ankle pics, and even top and bottom moves off the whistle is what it takes to become a great wrestler. As you perfect these, you can begin to build on those skills to ease into more complex moves. That does not need to be rushed, though. Throughout the first several years that you wrestle, you need to focus on the bread and butter moves that yield a high percentage of success. Instead of taking a shot and trying to go straight for a flashy move like a fireman’s carry, make sure you can get in on that shot successfully and finish at least eighty to ninety percent of the time. 

One of the easiest ways to ensure a successful finish to a single leg is by going around to the backside and finishing that way. Here to show you how to execute this simple building block of wrestling is former Iowa Hawkeye, Matt McDonough. 

During his career as a Hawkeye, McDonough was a three time NCAA D1 All American, three time NCAA finalist (winning two of these finals to make him the NCAA champion), and back to back Big Ten Champion his sophomore and junior years, all while maintaining over a 93 percent winning percentage. You don’t get a winning percentage that high without having the basic building blocks of the sport perfected.

To help make sure that you have the best chance of having the same amount of success as McDonough, check out his teachings in his videos. The Bread and Butter Sweep Single walks you through the setup, drills, execution, and tips on making your single leg shot the best it can be. Applying this champion’s tips to this already high percentage move can elevate your offense to a whole different level. Here is an example of McDonough’s teachings from The Bread and Butter Sweep Single where he shows you how to finish a single leg out the back side. Check it out!


Before this clip of The Bread and Butter Sweep Single, McDonough teaches you how to set up the shot and drills on how to improve your single leg. Once you’re comfortable with all of that, you can move on to this finish that he shows. When you take your shot, your dominant arm is going to be in between your opponent’s legs, holding on to his leg. In order to go “back side,” you have to change the way you’re facing and wrap the same leg you have but with your non-dominant arm around the back. When you do this, your shoulder will end up on your opponent’s thigh, somewhere between the side and back. If you’re in this position, you are ready to move on to being closer to finishing the move. 

Get More Sweep Single tips With Matt McDonough, Click Learn More!



From here, your opponent is going to be sprawling if they’re any good. To keep him from having a successful sprawl, you need to take that non-dominant arm that is still around the back of his leg and post your elbow to the mat. This will keep his leg in your control which is what you need for this finish to work. With your elbow posted and his leg out straight in front of you, you must elevate his foot with your dominant arm out front. This is often called “shelving” the ankle because when you elevate it and put it on your leg, it is like your quad is a shelf that your opponent’s ankle is sitting on. Shelving the ankle is essential for finishing out the back side because it takes away power by putting all their weight on the opposite knee. We take advantage of that with the next step. 

When you have the ankle shelved, you’re going to take that non-dominant arm that was posted on the mat and put it around their far leg. This will make it easy to get the takedown when you go to drive into his body. Your arm around that far leg will act as a wedge that takes their balance away. This is made much easier if you have your head in their side to help drive over their far leg. With your head driving and your arm posted, drive through your opponents and you have your two takedown points. Along with the points, you have now finished a single leg out the back side. Now you can work your go to move on top and finish him off. 

With this very simplified guide on finishing out the back, you can drill this and become a pro just like McDonough. Just like how you can’t build a skyscraper without a strong foundation, in wrestling it is the moves like this simple finish that build your foundation. The more of these simple moves that you know will help you become the best wrestler that you can be. However, you have to be rock solid in your knowledge and abilities when it comes to these basic building blocks.

The Bread & Butter Sweep Single by Matt McDonough
 Build yourself a strong foundation by checking out The Bread and Butter Sweep Single and mastering the craft of the single leg. Take pride in the little things like this, and big things will follow. Do just that by learning all that McDonough has to teach in his videos.