Get More Pins With These Far Side Cradles
One of the most effective ways to pin someone in wrestling is with a cradle. There are two main types of cradles, the first is a near side cradle and the second is a far side cradle. They both involve using your arms to encircle the arm and the leg, the only difference is which side you do it on.
A far side cradle is extremely effective. In fact, you see it at the highest levels of wrestling including the NCAA finals. Some people think that only wrestlers that have long arms can hit cradles, but that is not the case at all. Here are some different far side cradles you can hit that will help earn you more pins.
Far Side Cradle
The first far side cradle is the most basic way you can hit a far side cradle. It is vitally important that you learn this cradle before you branch off and learn other variations of far side cradles. In this video, Chael Sonnen shows the basics of a far side cradle: how to lock it up and how to turn your opponent and get the pin.
Even though this is a basic move, there still are some important technical points that Sonnen goes over. The first is your opponent’s head and their far knee must get close together so you can lock up the cradle. There are generally two different ways this can happen. The first way is if they step their foot up and bring their knee close to their own head on their own. This typically happens when they are trying to stand up from the bottom position. The second way is for you to forcibly bring them together. This is often done by using a crossface to drive the upper body towards the far leg. It is not a nice move, but it is highly effective.
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After the cradle is locked up, Sonnen brings his partner to his back and moves his bottom leg out of the way. Once he has his partner is on his back, he slides his hips back and puts the knee in the ribs and looks for the pin. This basic far side cradle is a great wrestling move that all wrestlers should know.
Far-Side Cradle From Referee’s Position
The next cradle is from referee’s position. In this video, Hudson Taylor shows how he likes to set this cradle up and finish it.
To set this cradle up, the first thing you will need to get in a claw ride position, but instead of grabbing the neck like you would for a normal claw ride, you will lock in the armpit on the opposite side instead. The next thing you need to do is get your opponent to lift their far knee off the mat. Watch how Taylor pushes his partner’s heel to the mat and drives into him to get the knee to pop up. This is a very important step because if their knee does not come off the mat, you can’t lock up the cradle.
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Once you have gotten your opponent to lift their knee off the mat the hard work is done, all you have to do now is lock up the cradle. There are many different ways you can finish a cradle from this position, but Taylor likes to straighten his leg and roll straight back to keep his back from being exposed and therefore keeps him out of danger.
This last cradle is much more advanced. It is called a drop cradle and Ed Ruth, who was a three time NCAA champion from Penn State, used this cradle very effectively during his college career.
This cradle starts out in referee’s position and the guy on top reaches across to secure the bottom guy’s triceps. Look at how Ruth’s body is positioned compared to his partner, he is making his partner carry most of his weight. He is also allowing this opponent to step up with the far leg which is an important part of hitting this cradle.
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When the bottom guy steps up with the far leg, you are going to go to that side and slide, or as Ruth says “drip”off the side and shoot the arm through to lock up the cradle. Be sure to stay tight on the triceps the entire time and because of this, you will lock onto your own wrist. Then you will tuck your head and roll forward to bring your opponent to their back.
Ruth also shows an even more advanced version of this cradle that you can hit if you opponent is standing.
Cradles are a great way to get pins. One way to get better at them is to do a cradle drill in practice. One guy on top and one guy down. The bottom guy moves around and hits sit outs and the guy on top looks for the head and leg to come close so he can lock up a cradle. The more you do drills like this, the more you will start to see that opportunities to hit cradles happen all the time in a match.
If you would like to learn more ways to hit cradles, be sure to check out Ruth’s cradle video series titled “The Cradle Machine by Ed Ruth”. In this video, he goes over the cradles he used during his college career that helped him become one of the greatest college wrestlers of all time.