Learn How To Pin From Three ALL-Time Greats!
Pinning is obviously an important part of wrestling, but just as with any other aspect of the sport, it is a skill that you need to learn. There are pretty much an infinite number of pinning combinations available for you to learn, but some of them work much better than others. Because of this reason, it is important to learn what pinning combinations work at high levels of competition like college wrestling. Here are some different pinning combinations from some of the best college wrestlers ever in the history of the NCAA.
Josh Wagner Inside Cradle
The first pinning combination is from Ben Askren. Ben was a four time NCAA finalist and a two time NCAA champion. He is known for his funky style of wrestling and his ability to pin his opponents.
This pinning combination is an inside cradle starts in referee’s position. To set this cradle up, you are going to start with an elbow chop to breakdown you opponent. After you chop and drive your opponent forward, you are going to hook your opponent’s near ankle and sit back on it to trap it. The next step is to hook up a power half on the far side, but instead of trying to use the power half to crank your opponent to their back, you will pull your opponent’s head and neck into you.
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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 your chest back and lock the cradle up. Once you have it locked up, watch how Askren rolls his partner to their back for the pin.
This is a great cradle that your opponent won’t see coming. If you can get it down good, you should be able to earn a lot pins with it.
Head and Arm Trap
This next pinning combination is from Ed Ruth who was a three time NCAA champion for Penn State. This head and arm trap is great for guys who like to use front headlocks or if your opponent is really strong on bottom and you can’t seem to turn them with your normal pinning combinations.
This move starts in a front headlock position, but instead of a normal closed front headlock, watch how Ruth reaches all the way under the chin and arm and locks on to his elbow, hence the name “head and arm trap”. He basically has an arm figure four with his opponent’s head and arm trapped inside. Make sure the arm that is across the back is touching the spine.
When the head and arm are locked up, start to put pressure on by “sinking” off to the side you are eventually going to roll. Then, use your feet to start to circle to the same side and then roll your opponent to their back and look for the pin. Pay attention to Ruth’s footwork through out the roll and his hip heist he uses to end up on top. Also note that he keeps the head and arm locked up the entire time.
Near Wrist Roll Under Arm Bar
The next pinning combination on the list comes from four time NCAA champion from Ohio State Logan Stieber. Logan was known from his arm bar series that he used during his career. His arm bars were so good, most guys knew they were coming and still couldn’t stop them. Here is Logan showing how he likes to run an arm bar.
Steiber starts the arm bar with small bump forward right when the whistle blow which forces his opponent to put weight on their hands and it stops them from hitting a standup. As soon as he bumps, Stieber goes into a spiral ride breakdown where he drops the far hand down to the thigh and the near hand bumps the opposite arm forward and secures the near side wrist.
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Once your opponent is broken down and the wrist is secured, drive them forward to flatten them out. While driving forward, roll the wrist under so it pops out of the side. Pay attention to Stieber’s position in relation to his opponent. He is keeping a lot of pressure on him by keeping his head and chest up and drives his feet into the mat. One common mistake is wrestlers stay on their knees which does not keep enough pressure on their opponent.
From here, pull the arm out and secure it on the low back. If you are struggling to get the arm out, watch how Stieber sits out and uses both hands to attack the wrist and secures it on the low back. When you have the wrist pinned to the low back, get on top of your opponent. Use your belly to help pin the wrist and arm to the low back. Keeping your chest up ensures there will be pressure on your opponent the entire time.
After the arm is pinned to their low back, secure the wrist with your opposite hand and slide your near hand under the elbow. When the arm bar is locked up tight, there are a lot of different finishes you can do to get the pin. The most common is to grab the far wrist and drive your opponent over for the pin.
This last move is a cradle from Ed Ruth who loved to pin guys with cradles during his time at Penn State. Check out the video to see Ruth showing his variation of a drop cradle.
This is a great far side cradle that starts in referee’s position. The first step is for the guy on top to reach across and secure the far triceps, almost like you would if you were hitting a crossface cradle. One you have the triceps secured, the key point is to bait your opponent to step the outside leg up. Pay attention to Ruth’s positioning, he is making his partner carry most of his weight and forcing him to post up the outside leg.
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.
To get pins in wrestling, you definitely need to know different pinning combinations, but you also need to have a pinning attitude. You have to go into a match not just wanting to win, but wanting to win by pin. If you don’t go into a match wanting to get the pin, chances are you won’t. You get pins by being deliberate. Also, the more guys you pin, the better you get at it and the better you are at it, he easier pinning your opponents will become. Hopefully these pinning combinations will help you this upcoming season.
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