Like Hitting Cradles? Check Out These Two Roll Through Cradles Finishes
Cradles are one of the fundamental wrestling pinning techniques. You see them work at all levels of competition from middle school all the way to the NCAA finals. Because of how effective they are, every wrestler who wants to get better at pinning should be practicing them regularly. You will find that the more you practice cradles, the more opportunities you will see in a match to hit one.
There are two basic types of cradles: a near side cradle and a far side cradle. With each type, there are many different finishes you can do once you have them locked up. Here are two roll through for cradles; one for the near side and one for the far side.
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.
The next roll through cradle is for a far side cradle, sometimes called a crossface 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.
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.
Take time during this off season to really practice these cradle variations. If you watched these videos and think they may be too advanced for you, check out this video by Chael Sonnen where he shows a very basic far side cradle.
If you love cradles and want to learn more variations and finishes using a cradle, be sure to check out “The Cradle Machine by Ed Ruth”. Ruth was a three time NCAA champion for Penn State and used cradles very effectively throughout his wrestling career.