Four Cradles That Will Get You More Pins
The ultimate goal of a wrestling match is to pin your opponent and there are a lot of different ways you can do it. One of the most effective ways to pin a guy is with a cradle. Because of how effective it is, you often see them being hit in the highest levels of competition, even the NCAA finals.
There are two basic types of cradles, a near-side cradle and a far-side cradle. Both of these cradles can be hit from many different positions, the big key is to recognize them when you see them so you can lock one up. Here are four cradles that will help to get you more pins out on the mat.
Front Headlock Roll Through Cradle
This near side cradle is unique because you don’t actually have to have the cradle locked up before you begin the roll as long as you stay very tight on the triceps. In the video, Hudson Taylor starts the move in a front headlock position. Look how he is using his shoulder to put a lot of pressure on the base of his opponent’s neck and pulling the arm tight. This pressure allows him to circle off to the side without his opponent breaking free.
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From there he drops his head off to the side and puts his head “in the hole” and reaches to secure the leg. It is important to keep secure the leg for two reasons. First is to keep the other guy from ciricing away from you. The second reason is that you need to have control of the leg before you roll so that you can use it to lock the cradle up. Notice in the video, Taylor keeps the triceps tight and grabs on to his own wrist to lock the cradle up.
From this position, Taylor is in a standard near side cradle. There are a lot of finishes that can be done from here, but he chooses to step over the top leg with both of his legs and tripods up on his head. Watch how he takes his time when he gets the cradle locked up. If you get this locked up and step over the leg, it is extremely difficult for someone to escape. The biggest mistake people make when doing this finish is they try to rush through it and that allows space for your opponent to defend the cradle.
Ed Ruth is a master at hitting this roll through cradle. It starts with one guy in referee’s position and the top guy reaches across and secures the far arm at the triceps. Look at how Ruth’s body is positioned compared to his partner. He is making his partner carry most of his weight and at the same time baiting him to step up with the far leg.
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Once he steps up with the far leg, watch how Ruth sides or “drips” off the side and scoops the leg and rolls through. Once rolled through, Ruth keeps the triceps and locks onto his own wrist.
Be sure to not let your opponent posture up; try to keep them bent over so their head is close to their knee. If you feel like you have this down, you can also try it when your opponent stands up. Same principle, but just a little more advanced.
Josh Wagner Inside Cradle
This inside cradle starts in referee’s position. To hit this move, you are going to start with an elbow chop to breakdown you opponent. When you chop and drive them forward, you are going to hook your opponent’s near ankle and sit back on it to keep it trapped. From this position, you are going to hook up a power half on the opposite side, but instead of trying to crank your opponent to their back, you will pull your opponent’s head and neck into you.
After you pull your opponent’s head into you, you are going to take a big step and use your knee to trap your opponent’s head. This will allow you to leg go of the power half and go around the head and near leg with your arms. Then just slide to your chest back and lock the cradle up and turn them to their back for the pin.
Far-Side Cradle From Referee’s Position
This cradle starts with you on top in referee’s position. To set it up, you will need to get to a claw ride position, but instead of grabbing the neck, you will lock in the armpit on the opposite side. From here, watch how Taylor pushes the heel to the mat and drives into his partner to get the knee to come off the mat. This is very important to executing the move because if the knee does not come off the mat, there can be no cradle.
Once the knee has popped up, all you have to do is lock up the cradle. There are multiple ways you can finish the cradle from this position. Taylor opts to straighten his leg and roll straight back which keeps his back from being exposed.
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