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Take Your Opponent Down Without Shooting

Take Your Opponent Down Without Shooting


In wrestling, shooting single legs, double legs, and high crotches are the primary offensive moves most wrestlers use to get takedowns. These shots are obviously very effective and can be seen at all levels of wrestling. In fact, shooting is one of the first wrestling skills a new wrestler learns when they step on the mat. 

Besides taking shots, there are a lot of different ways to score takedowns. It is very beneficial to have the skills to get these types of takedowns for multiple reasons. First, you may be wrestling an opponent who has really great shot defense and really heavy hips, and everytime you shoot on them you get stuffed and stuck under their sprawl. Another similar reason is you might be a heavyweight. Guys who wrestle heavyweight tend to not like to shoot as much because it is much easier to get stuck under a guy who weighs 240lbs than it is if your opponent only weighs 140lbs.

Another reason you may want to avoid shooting is to avoid getting into scramble situations. When you watch guys like Ben Askren wrestle, you can see how effective they are at using their opponent’s shots to not only score takedowns, but also put guys to their backs and pin them. Having takedowns that do not require you to shoot in on the legs can help you score without putting yourself in danger against a wrestler who likes to scramble.

Lastly, shooting takes a lot of energy. It is good to be able to hit takedowns and score with moves that do not cause you to gas out or have moves you like to hit in the third period when you may not have the energy to shoot another shot. 

Here are some great takedowns you can hit without actually shooting on your opponent.

Short Offense

One way to get takedowns on guys without shooting is with snapdowns and front headlocks. This type of offense is often called short offense. It is a great option because it keeps you away from scrambles and out from under an opponent’s heavy hips. There are a lot of ways to get a takedown from this position, here are a couple of great options.

The first one is a front headlock to a throwby. This is probably the most simple finish you can hit from a front headlock position, yet it is highly effective. Just remember to keep it tight and the more you move your opponent the better.

Another great option from the front headlock position is a roll through cradle. Not only does this takedown keep you from having to shoot, but it also ends with you pinning your opponent. 

Here is a variation of a front headlock called a head and arm. This allows you to trap the head and arm and roll through and end up with your opponent on their back. 

These are just a couple of moves you can hit from the short offense position, but there are so many other options you can use to finish. You can simply snap and spin behind, you can bury your head in the side and lock up a nearside cradle, or do a knee block and hit a dump. This a great position that all wrestlers need to learn to wrestle from. 

Want to become a Cradle Machine Like Ed Ruth? Click Learn More!



Another way to score without taking shots is with throws. This can be a really effective way to avoid getting stuck under an opponent or ending up in a scramble situation. Generally when hitting throws, it is good to disguise them so your opponent can’t see them coming. If you come up out of your stance and walk into your opponent trying to get double underhooks, they will know you are looking for a throw. So instead, look for throws and setups that don’t indicate what you are trying to do until it is too late for your opponent. Here are a couple of great throws.

This first throw is great because it uses an outside single leg to disguise the throw. 


Here is another throw that you set up with an arm drag.


This last throw is from a two on one and is highly effective.

Throws are a great weapon to have in your arsenal. There will be times when you need to hit a big move in a wrestling match, like if you are down by four points with 30 seconds left in the third period. Remember, it is always best to try to hit throws that your opponent won’t see coming because it is pretty easy for someone to stop a throw if they know exactly what you are trying to do.

Other than scoring with front headlocks and throws, there are many other options. You can hit slidebys, inside trips, outside carries, ankle picks, or duck unders. There are so many great options to get takedowns without actually shooting in for the legs. 


In this video, Hudson Taylor goes over ties and head positioning to be more successful at hitting slidebys. 

Adding a variety of takedowns to your offense and knowing when to use them is very important for any wrestler who wants to get better. You may go into a match with a certain game plan, but if is not working, you may need to make adjustments in the middle of the match. The more takedowns you know you can hit, the more options you will have when the time comes.  

Magic Mat Work by Hudson Taylor
Magic Mat Work by Hudson Taylor is a wrestling GOLD MINE. Throughout the 8 Volume set you will be taken on a vision quest to the techniques that helped Hudson reach the highest levels of wrestling.  It's TIME to add some MAGIC to your game!