Improve Your Wrestling With These Awesome Drills
Drilling is a huge part of getting better in wrestling. The more you go through specific patterns and movements, the more they will be ingrained into your mind and body so when the time comes in a match for you to hit a move, you won’t need to think about it; you will just react. To get better at different skills, you need to do different drills that put an emphasis on specific areas. Here are some awesome wrestling drills.
Stance and Motion
One of the most important drills you can do in wrestling is a stance and motion drill. It is so important to not only have a great stance, but to also be able to move around correctly in it. In wrestling, everything on your feet stems from a good stance.
All of you offense starts with a good stance. When you are in a good wrestling stance with your head up, elbows in, and good knee and hip bend, you are putting yourself in a great position to shoot a shot. If your head is down and elbows are out and your butt is way up high, any shot you take will result in failure if it is against a good opponent because you are already in terrible position before you start.
To get better at stance and motion, the best thing to do is move around in your stance and shadow wrestle. Basically, pretend there is an opponent in front of you and circle, change you level, move forward and back, and sprawl. Get used to moving all around while keeping excellent position. If you really want to improve, you can take a video of yourself moving around in your stance and watch it to see the areas you need to work on the most.
Here is a great video by Mike Malinconinco where he goes over how to improve your stance and motion.
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Stance and First Contact
Another area that is great to drill is stance and first contact. It is important to practice how you are going to engage your opponent when you first step out onto the mat. If you stand up and reach, you are opening up for your opponent to shoot and easy shot on you. It may sound simple to maintain a good stance and keep your elbows in and not just reach up for the head, but in reality, this is something that happens way too often in matches.
To do this drill, get a partner and get in your stances and practice keep your arms down until you make contact with your head first, then you can transition into hand fighting. It is a simple drill, but if you can teach yourself to not reach up for your opponent’s head, it will make a big difference.
Check out this video of Kyle Dake where he goes over the importance of stance and making first contact correctly.
Bicep Tie Drill
In wrestling, you need to be able to move your opponent around. One of the best ways to do this is with an inside tie, also called a bicep tie. A great drill you can do is grab a partner and work on moving your partner around using the bicep tie. When you get more comfortable with it, you can even throw in different variables like having your partner shoot on you to make sure you are staying in good position or you can work to get them to step with a certain leg and take a shot. Another great way to do this drill is to start in your stance, make good first contact, then hand fight to the bicep tie position and move your opponent around from there.
Here is a great video of Ben Akren showing the bicep tie drill.
After you have your stance and motion down, the next thing you want to drill is your shot. In order to earn takedowns, your shot must be on point from start to finish. There are some key points when hitting a shot that will help you to have more success and these drills help you develop the proper technique when taking a shot.
The first key point is you must lower your level. Lowering your level helps you to get past your opponent’s first line of defense and puts you in a great position to drive your opponent back which leads to the second key point, you must drive through your opponent, not to your opponent. When you take a shot, let's say a double leg, you should be moving your opponent backwards, if you aren’t, you are not shooting through them. Another key point is you must lower your level. Changing your level and getting low helps you to go under your opponent’s first line of defense and puts you in an explosive position to drive through your opponent.
You not only need to do offensive drills, but also defensive drills as well. One way to get better at defense is to do reaction drills that train you to pick up on attacks quicker so you can defend them quicker. These drills will help to increase foot speed and also improve how quick you sprawl when you get shot on. Here is another video with Henry Cejudo where he shows a couple different reaction drills you can use to become better defensively.
Hip Heist Drill
A hip heist is a very important movement in wrestling. It is when you switch the direction your hips are facing, either up or down, but don’t move laterally. Common place you see people using a hip heist in a match are when they are trying to create movement on the bottom or if they are in a scramble and need to quickly switch the position of their hips.
In this video, Mike Malinconinco goes over a couple different hip heist drills you can do that will help you improve your hip speed and power.
Although many of these drills may seem basic, they are very important. In fact, pretty much all NCAA wrestlers and even Olympians due drills like this at almost every practice; you are never too good to stop working on your fundamentals and if you were to talk with many of these high level guys, they would tell you that one of the reasons they have had so much success in wrestling is because they spend a lot of time working on the small details that these drills help to improve upon.
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