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Five Ways To Improve Your Single Leg Takedowns

Five Ways To Improve Your Single Leg Takedowns

 

Having a good offense and being able to take people down is one of the most important skills in wrestling. There are a lot of different takedowns you can hit, but one of the most common and most effective is with a single leg. Here are five ways you can improve you single leg attacks.


Head Position

Having good head position is important in all areas of wrestling, including with single legs. There are many different ways you can shoot a single like an outside sweep single, a low single, or a common head inside mid level single. Each one of these single legs has its own proper head position that you need to learn and execute when you hit the shot. So when you are drilling, be sure to really focus where you head is positioned. 


If your head is not in the proper position, you leave yourself open to be defended much easier. There is a saying in wrestling that most have heard (or at least a variation of it), “the head controls the hips”. So, if you shoot with your head down your hips will come up and you will probably get sprawled on, but if you shoot with your head up, your hips will be under you and you will be in a much better position to score. So if you want to get better at your single legs, focus on head position.


Keep Your Opponent Moving 

Another way to improve your single leg offense is to keep your opponent moving. Often, you will see a wrestler shoot a great shot and drive the leg up only to lose it because they did not keep their opponent moving. When you drive a single leg up, you must keep your opponent moving by driving into them, circling them, or pulling the backwards. If you have a single leg and aren’t moving them, there is an incredibly high probability your opponent will defend it. Moving your opponent makes it much more difficult to defend when you compare it to standing still. 


Learn To Counter Single Leg Defense

One thing you can count on when you shoot a single leg is that your opponent will defend it. They might push your head to the outside and sprawl or maybe they get a whizzer and use it to put a lot of pressure on you. There are a lot of different defenses to a single leg that you can do, so you can learn to counter the single leg defense.


One example would be to counter a whizzer, which is one of the most common defenses to a single leg. If you can learn what to do when your opponent defends your shot, even though they stop your initial offensive move, you can still score. Another is switching over to a double leg if your opponent pushes your head from the inside position to the outside position. 


Here is a great example of how to counter a whizzer after you shoot a single leg from Bekzod Abdurakhminov!



 

Learn To Finish A Single Leg Down On The Mat

Getting to a single leg is usually the easy part, but actually finishing it is the difficult part. One position that you will end up in at some point in your wrestling career is holding on to the leg after your opponent sprawls on you. 

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When you watch high level wrestling, it is extremely common for guys to shoot a single leg then have to finish down on the mat. Learning how to finish a shot down on the mat will really increase your finish percentage. Just because your opponent sprawled on you doesn’t mean you have to let go of the leg. 


In this video, three time NCAA champion Ed Ruth shows a couple of his favorite finishes from down on the mat. 



Practice The Best Finishes

There are so many different finishes you can learn to do, but one way to really improve you single legs is to watch how high level wrestlers are finishing theirs. There are a lot of finishes that are taught to beginners or even intermediate level wrestlers that do not work on good wrestlers. An example of this is running the pipe which is a very common single leg finish that is taught, but rarely seen executed in the NCAA Championships or the Olympics. Pay attention to what works out on the mat and practice those finishes. If they work on national champions they will work on all other levels. 


Here is a great example of a great single leg from four time NCAA Champion Logan Stieber.


 

 

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