Scrambling Tips with Brett Pfarr
The ability to scramble in wrestling is both a fundamental skill and something that is often inherent in wrestlers. Many Coaches believe that “ you can either have the ability to scramble or you don’t” . There is something about being tough with a never give up attitude you just can't teach. This is why a few wrestlers have made an entire career out of scrambling while others choose a more structured technical path.
There inlays quite the dichotomy in theory. One side believes the ability to scramble is based solely on the mind of the wrestler and on the other side technical prowess can be taught to anyone.
Wrestlers like Kyle Dake, Yianni Diakomihalis and Ben Askren are among wrestlers who have made a career out of scrambling out of positions into winning ones. The premise of a scramble is often when a shot goes bad. A outside single but the leg gets pulled away and now you are out of position.
Kyle Dake is most definitely the calculated technical scrambler, you are never safe in any position as Kyle has that encyclopedic knowledge of every position imaginable. Then there is Yianni who seems to get into bad positions on purpose just to out scramble his opponent for points. Yianni is that tough, gritty wrestler that everyone should be scared of. A wrestling match with him is like wrestling a pitbull.
Brett Pfarr is also pretty darn good at scrambling. His tough grinding style is synonymous with Minnesota wrestlers and he is one of the best Golden Gophers to ever step on the mat. The Two time All American made the NCAA Finals in 2017 and that year he proved he could scrap with the best of them.
Brett’s wrestling style is unique where scrambling is concerned. Instead of being placed in the technical or tough categories Brett would fall soundly into both categories of scrambling. He is precise and technical in unconventional positions and he is also incredibly durable and gritty. That toughness and sound technical knowledge is what earned him a trip to the Big Ten finals on two separate occasions as well as solidifying him as a two time All American.
Now, Brett can’t show you how to be gritty and tough, you may need to just spend some time at Minnesota ranch country for that because those are skills you will have to learn on your own, if such a thing could be learned at all. He can show you how to approach scrambling in a technical manner.
Look at this transition off of a failed High-C. When that leg you are hunting gets farther away, don't chase after it! Change directions and take the other leg which is now ripe for the picking.
The key that keeps this position strong is how good Brett’s posture is while he is transferring from the high crotch to the single. If the head is low or the posture is bent over getting sprawled on becomes a very real possibility.
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What is refreshing is how Brett details everything from where to set the knee while transferring from one side to the other as well as details about proper grip position (lead arm on top palm down, trailing arm palm up.) are often missing from instructionals when showing positions.
Being a coach now has given Brett some time to map out how to work through scrambling positions technically. Brett is not just any wrestler turned coach, one of his achievements while wrestling was while attending the University of Minnesota he was a four time Big Ten All Academic Athlete.
To be All Academic you must carry a 3.0 or better the entire year. So while he was going undefeated in Duel Meets his Junior and Senior year, he was also maintaining a high GPA in all his classes for Agriculture and Food Business Management.
That is the kind of mind that is behind his instructional, well thought out and thorough in its approach.
Brett has put together a four part series on being offensive in the takedown part of the game, like the video above offering options for common reactions. So instead of backing out when things go bad or change, you have options to continue the offensive pursuit.
Brett covers the most common attacks you might see and offers his detailed approach at scrambling out of positions like the High Crotch, The Crackdown and defending the near side ankle pass which I have not seen anywhere else but here.
This is a well thought out instructional series that sets up the finer points of both offensive and defensive scrambling positions. It is a must have for any wrestler.