Master Snap and Go Behind Drills with Dan Vallimont
Live training in wrestling is definitely beneficial. It is the closest you can get to the feeling of an actual match. It allows you to practice split second decision making skills, and practice your technique while facing all of the strength of your opponent.
While this is a hugely important aspect to improving your wrestling, so is repeating drills. Much of that split second decision making comes from muscle memory. While yes, you develop muscle memory from live training, repetition of important technique is what etches the proper responses into your muscles.
When you continuously place yourself in a certain situation and respond in a particular way so many times, when you are in a live match chances are you will respond the same way. Drills can absolutely seem monotonous at times, but this is how you perfect your game.
The front headlock is an often sought after position to be in because of the control that it offers. There are many ways to get there and many avenues to take once you are there. Your game plan may change depending on the strengths of your opponent, time left in the match, ect; however developing a methodology of technique as your “go to” will increase your finishing success rates.
Before Dan begins the drill, he states that this drill is not so much about the actual front headlock position, rather as it is focused on making sure you get a good snap down and making a quick transition to go behind. To start, your opponent is going to get on their knees and they are going to reach out toward you. From here Dan states that you can choose to snap down however you want. Perhaps a collar tie with wrist control, a collar tie and an underhook, or whatever feels comfortable to you. He states that personally he is going to go with a collar tie and an inside tie.
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The goal from here is to snap him down to at least get his weight onto his hands, and if you can to his elbows which in turn works to extend him. Once you snap him down onto his hands, you quickly transition to the front headlock position.
Once you have secured the front headlock, you are going to pull your partner toward you, trying to get them extended and shift their weight onto their elbows. The arm with the headlock is going to come across their body to block their armpit as you spin behind to the back. The act of blocking the armpit prevents your partner from turning so you can quickly spin behind them.
Dan recommends that when drilling this you switch sides, so you would get your headlock with the opposite arm and spin to the opposite side on your next rep. Dan points out that immediately after the snap down once your partner's hands hit the floor, this is when you should be pulling them forward with the front headlock to make it easier to go behind.
Dan reveals that later on in his instructional and not included in this clip, he goes more into technique with these drills, but for now he wants to emphasize on the importance of the movement involved in this drill. The goal is for you and your partner to go back and forth, switching sides to get a lot of reps. These drills can start out slow to get into your flow and make sure your technique is right, but pick up the pace to do your best to simulate the actual speed you would be using in a match.
Included in his instruction following this drill, Dan shows finishes including head in the hole traditional finish, roll-through cradle, cement mixer, and fake cement mixer to wrist pull go behind. He also covers elbow control single, elbow control pancake, misdirecting throw by, knee and ankle picks, and a ton more.
Dan Vallimont has had an intriguing and impressive career over the years. The Penn State alumni placed second at the 2010 NCAA Division I Championships. Two years earlier in 2008 he placed third in the NCAA Championships, and left his time with the Nittany Lions with a combined record of 110-36.
Following his collegiate career, Dan served as Interim Assistant Coach with Penn Wrestling during the 2017-18 season. He was a member of the 2014 US World Cup Freestyle Team, and competed in the 2016 Olympic Trials. Dan also added to his experience with 6 years of coaching as an assistant and head coach at EIWA foe Hofstra, where his responsibility of all aspects of the program allowed him to perfect his overall knowledge for the sport, inside and out.
This Two-Time NCAA All-American has dedicated his life to the sport. Invest in yourself and perfect your technique and finishing abilities from the front headlock with this elite level instructional. Check it out here!