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Finishing Shots with Ed Ruth

Finishing Shots with Ed Ruth


Shooting is the most fundamental aspect of wrestling. Just like basketball players learn to dribble and baseball players learn to throw and catch, wrestlers need to know how to shoot before building the rest of their game. The shot itself is systematic, with the mechanics of it barely changing except for the direction you’re shooting in. However, knowing how to shoot is only part of the learning process, as accomplished wrestlers also need to know how to finish them. 

Finishing your shots will vary depending on your takedown, but there are a few common themes present through them all. To dive into this topic further, three-time NCAA champion Ed Ruth discusses how to finish the shot in the video below.

Going Around the Corner

In the first scenario, Ed has shot for a single leg against his partner, who responds by sprawling hard. He is on his knees with his arms starting to extend, which leaves him susceptible to a whizzer and crossface. Rather than continue to drive forward, he changes his direction to the outside of his partner by placing his shoulder against their hamstring and switching his grip lower towards their shin. Your opponent can defend well against a head-on threat, but not so much against any lateral movement. Once he is in position, Ed postures his hips up and moves around the body to collect the other leg and drive forward. This is a very useful finish, especially if you are a smaller wrestler. 

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Pass the Leg

Another possible finish from that same single leg scenario is to spread your opponent’s legs apart to compromise their base. Ed finds himself in the same position as before, sprawled while on his knees. Rather than going around the leg, he uses his near-side leg to move their leg over to his other leg and turn it out. Passing the leg here puts the opponent in an awkward position by removing one of their posts. Their leg will be shelved on your upper thigh, so you can either pull the leg through and finish from behind or capture the far knee and force them over laterally. 

Knee Slide

This technique isn’t mentioned in the video, but it does tackle one of the issues facing Ed as he attempts his shot against the sprawl. With the opponent getting their hips out of the way, their center of gravity is further back while you are under the sprawl. While you can move around the body, you can shift your weight back under them if the opportunity presents itself. To do this, raise your far-side leg up to a knee and place it between your opponent’s legs. As the opponent settles in to their trapped side, knee slide between their legs to get back under their center of gravity. You can continue to finish the single from here or switch to the double based on your foot positioning. While this is not the easiest approach, it is helpful against an opponent who does not know how to redirect their weight defensively. 

Your shot is the most important tool in your wrestling toolbox. Know how to use it by learning how to finish the shot with Ed Ruth and his instructional Scientific Shots!