Low Level Takedowns All Wrestlers Should Know
In wrestling, there are so many different ways to hit a shot. You can hit shots at a high level, like a blast double where you don’t touch your knee on the mat. You can hit a mid level shot, which is what most people think of when they think of a standard double or single leg. Another option you have is to go low. Here are some great low level attacks you can use to really expand your offense.
Low Single Leg
One of the best and most popular low level attacks is a low single leg which was made famous by Jon Smith who used it with great success on his way to becoming a four time world champion and a two time Olympic champion. A low single is great because it allows you to shoot on your opponent from open space so generally, there is no tie ups involved. Also, when you shoot a low single, you are able to go under your opponent’s first line of defense, which is their head and their hands. Another great benefit of shooting a low single as opposed to a high or mid level single is you secure the ankle which makes it extremely difficult for your opponent to sprawl on you and get a whizzer.
Here is a great video of Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo teaching how he likes to hit a low single leg.
When you hit a low single leg, the first thing you need to do is a quick level change. Just by dropping low, you are able to get your opponent to react for a split second which gives you a chance to shoot. The other important thing lowering your level does is puts you in an explosive position. A low single is an incredibly quick shot and when you drop down, you are in the best possible position to shoot.
Another important point is that you are attacking your opponent’s lead leg. When you shoot, your aim should be down towards their heel, not straight across. Once you have the heel secure, watch how Cejudo quickly brings his knees under his hips to stay in a good position. From here, a lot of wrestlers like to put their head on the inside of the knee and drive and circle while attacking the other leg with their other hand.
A low single is a great option, if Jon Smith and Henry Cejudo were successful with it while they were wrestling in the Olympics, you can bet you can be successful with it too.
Misdirection Low Single Leg
Another great low level attack is a misdirection low single. The previous low single that Cejudo demonstrated is more of a straight on attack, but this low single uses a fake attack to the opposite side to set up the low single leg shot.
In wrestling, a misdirection shot is when you purposely step or shoot to one side with the sole purpose of getting your opponent to react then immediately shooting the the other side. It can be done with double legs or high crotches, but in this case, to shoot a low single leg.
To hit the misdirection, the first thing that Vladimer does is takes a fake outside step shot to the leg that is back because ultimately, he wants to attack the lead leg. One of the key factors in being successful with this shot is to sell the fake and Vladimer does this perfectly. He then immediately steps with the opposite leg to attack the lead leg. Once he has the heel secured, he drives his head into the knee and tables the ankle.
Low Double Leg
Another low level shot you can hit is a low double leg. It is very similar to the low single except you are attack both legs. This shot is very hard to defend because there is really no way to sprawl or get a whizzer in once you have both legs secured. In this video, four time NCAA champion and world champion Logan Stieber demonstrates how he likes to use an overtie to set up a low double leg.
To be successful with this takedown, the first thing you have to do is get a good overtie which involves basically collar tying over top of your opponent’s collar tie. When you have the overtie, you must collapse you opponent’s head into their bicep. If you don’t, you are giving them inside control and open yourself up to being shot on.
When Steiber gets the overtie, notice how much he moves his opponent around to set the shot up. This will not work if you get an overtie and just stand still, you must move your opponent. Then he snaps the head down and lowers his level and fires off a low level shot attacking both legs.
An ankle pick is another great low level attack. There are a lot of different setups you can do to hit an ankle pick like a collar tie or an underhook. One thing you want to keep in mind when hitting an ankle pick is to keep pressure on the head and drive your opponent over their ankle. Many times, guys go for an ankle pick and they try to pick the ankle up and let go of the head and lose the takedown.
Here is a great setup for an ankle pick by Dan Vallimont that uses a fake single leg from a two on one to hit an ankle pick; check it out.
Watch how Dan steps behind his opponent’s near leg to get him to react and pull his leg back to avoid the single leg. Once he steps the foot back, it puts all his weight on the far foot which makes it perfect for an ankle pick. But before you just reach down for the ankle, you need to hook the far ankle with your foot. Watch Dan’s footwork he uses to close the distance in order to hook the far ankle. If you don’t do the hop step and close the distance, you will be to spread out for this to work.
Once the ankle is blocked, reach down and grab the ankle and drive over your opponent; don’t just try to lift the ankle. Be sure to Also notice how Dan finishes with his opponent’s ankle on his thigh. Tabling the ankle will help to keep your opponent from bellying out and may allow you to earn some back points.
Low level shots are an awesome way to earn takedowns. Be sure to drill and focus on speed and technique and you will soon find yourself using them to score a lot of points out on the mat.
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