New To Wrestling? Check Out These Awesome Takedowns
Learning to how to get takedowns is a huge part of wrestling. If you are new to the sport, it can be frustrating and overwhelming trying to learn different ways to achieve this, but with practice, you will be able to start earning takedowns more consistently. When you are new to the sport, it is very important to keep things simple and really focus on the basics and fundamentals. There are definitely flashy moves out there that may seem tempting, but the truth is those moves don’t win championships. When you watch high level wrestling, the type of takedowns that are effective are commonly the most simple and basic, not crazy and flashy. Here are four awesome takedowns that are great for new wrestlers to learn.
Reach and Fake Double with Ben Askren
The first set up, head posting and fake level changes, is probably the most basic set up a wrestler can do, but it is so effective, you still see people using it at the highest levels of the sport. In this video, two time NCAA champion and Olympian Ben Askren demonstrates how to use reaching and fakes to hit a double leg.
As you can see in the video, this setup utilizes reaching, posting on the head, motion, and level changes to get your opponent to react in order to create an opportunity to shoot. When you move and change levels acting like you are going to shoot, your opponent will automatically react to defend your shot until they realize that you did not actually shoot. In this brief moment, there will be an opening to shoot a double leg.
Another thing to pay attention to is the distance between Askren and his partner. This shot comes from space, not in close. Also, watch the way he is circling and uses multiple head posts and level changes before he takes the shot, he doesn’t just use one fake but rather strings them together. When you do this, be aware that you still need to maintain a good stance so you do not get shot on and the posts need to be on the head and not in the face.
Front Headlock Throw by Bekzod Abdurakhminov
A front headlock is another very basic technique in wrestling and one of the most simple yet effective ways to get a takedown from a front headlock is to throw it by. In the video, Olympian Bekzod Abdurakhminov teaches the way he likes to hit a throw by.
The first key point to hitting this throw by effectively is you need to have a good front headlock which means putting a lot of pressure on your opponent’s head and neck. In the video, Bekzod uses an open front headlock but you can also hit a throw by with a closed front headlock. In addition to pressure, you have to keep your opponent moving. You do this by continually snapping and circling. If you stop moving, it will allow them time to defend the front headlock.
When you case the far leg, your opponent’s natural response will be to keep circling to try to face you. If they happen to not try to face you, then you will be able to just spin behind for the easy take down. Once you get your opponent circling, throw the head and arm by hard, almost like you are trying to stir a big pot. Watch how Bekzod throws the head and arm by and then attacks the hips. This move is all about circling and snaps, the more you focus on those two things, the easier the throw by will be.
High Crotch To Double Leg by Dan Vallimont
One of the most fundamental takedowns in wrestling is a high crotch. They are very effective because once you are in on the shot, you can either transition to a double leg or a single leg for the finish. If you are new to wrestling, learning how to hit a high crotch and transition to a double leg is a must. Here is a great video of Dan Vallimont demonstrating how to properly hit this move.
First, let’s look at Dan’s starting position because before you hit a shot, you must set it up. He has an inside tie on the same side that he has head position; having an underhook on the same side of the head would work as well. It is very important to have correct head position before you take this shot because if you are forehead to forehead or if you opponent has head position on the side you want to shoot, as soon as you take the shot your opponent will use their head to down block you and stop you before you even get a chance to shoot the shot.
Once you have the inside tie and correct head position, make sure your feet are in the correct position. Even though this is an outside step high crotch, when you are in your stance, you should have a center step lead leg.
Use small steps to move forward to pressure into your opponent to bait them into pressuring back into you. When you feel their counter pressure, lower your level and clear the arm and secure the leg with the opposite hand. When you clear the arm, be sure to keep it tight to your body. If you leave your elbow out, your opponent will hook it and use the hook to defend the shot.
The foot work in very important to set this shot up. Instead of taking a deep penetration step with the center leg, you will take a small step with the outside leg and do more of a knee drop with the center leg. Because you opponent is already pressuring into you, they should come right to you. A huge component to hitting this shot successfully is getting the timing and pressure correct.
Once you have gotten in on your shot, your outside leg should be posted on the mat with the knee up. Be sure your head is up and your ear is tight against their side and your hips under you. From this position, switch the outside hand to the far leg and transition to a double leg. Be sure to block the far leg at the knee and not to bring the hand up to the hip. Use your outside foot that is planted on the ground and drive straight across to finish the shot.
Low Single Leg by Henry Cejudo
A low single leg is an extremely effect takedown because once you are in on the shot, it is very difficult for your opponent to sprawl and defend it. Jon Smith, who was a six time world champion made this shot famous. In this video, Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo teaches us his low single leg attack.
When you shoot a low single leg, you are lowering your level which allows you to go beneath your opponent’s first line of defense, which is their head and hands. Another difference between a low single and other shots is a low single leg is shot from open space. Watch how Henry uses level changes and fakes to get is opponent to react for just a split second which allows him an opening to shoot. Using fakes and level changes is an important part of setting up a shot like this since you are not tying up with your opponent. Another important thing to notice is Henry’s position right before he shoots the low single. His level is really low, his head is up, and both of his legs are bent so he can use both of them to create the explosive power needed to close the distance quickly. Also, notice the direction he is aiming. He is not going straight at the leg, instead, he is going forward and down.
Once you are in on the leg, keep your head up keep driving forward and circle to the other leg and grab it to secure the finish. Many people like to use their head to put pressure on the inside of their opponent’s knee.
If you are someone who is new to wrestling you will quickly learn that the best way to get better at a move is to drill it over and over again. The more reps you have the better you will be. Learning to do a few takedowns really well will take you farther in the sport than learning to do a bunch of takedowns poorly.
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