The Importance Of A Good Wrestling Stance
The first thing any wrestler is taught on their first day of wrestling practice is a good wrestling stance. No one really feels comfortable or even looks comfortable in a stance when they first start, but the more time a person spends in their wrestling stance, the more comfortable they become. The reason that a wrestling stance is taught first is because it is the position that all offense and defense stems from while standing. Imagine trying to learn to walk and run before you can stand. That would be virtually impossible the same way it is virtually impossible to have good offense and defense in wrestling without a good stance.
So what are the elements of a good wrestling stance? Well even though it is the most basic wrestling technique, it can be quite technical. The first thing to look at is foot position. You can have a square stance with your feet in the same horizontal plane or you can have a split stance where one of your legs is in front of the other. There is a time and a place in wrestling for both. Generally, more of a square stance is considered defensive and a staggered stance is better for being offensive, but in reality, most wrestlers transition between a square stance to a staggered stance throughout a match.
The next part to look at in a stance is getting your level down by bending at the knees and waist. A low level helps to keep guys from shooting in and grabbing a leg for a takedown. If you are doing it properly, bending at the waist and knees puts you in the perfect position to generate explosive power when you take a shot. In wrestling, it is usually better to be lower than your opponent.
To get the ideal knee and waist bend, you must spend a lot of time in your stance. It is even helpful to take a video of yourself moving around in your wrestling stance and compare it to the stance of an elite wrestler. Everyone feels awkward in their stance at first, but you will get comfortable in it eventually.
The next thing to look at is what to do with your arms and hands. Generally speaking, when you are in a stance, you want elbows in tight to your sides but you still want your hands to be out in front of you. Your hands and your head are your first line of defense in wrestling so it’s not good if your hands aren’t out in front because they can’t engage and block your opponent’s hands.
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When you are in wrestling stance, your head should be up. There is a rule in wrestling, where the head goes the hips follow. So if you are in a stance and you head is down, then your legs will go straight and your butt will get high. So what you want is to keep your head up and that will help to keep your hips and butt down.
This is just a basic overview of a wrestling stance, but how you choose to set up your stance can make a big difference to the outcome of a match. That is why it is important to be able to make minor adjustments to your stance throughout a match.
Let’s say you are wrestling with a right leg lead split stance and the guy you are wrestling keeps hitting an outside sweep to you left leg. You need to change your stance up to keep him from getting to your left leg. Well one option you have it so split your stance up even more and drop your left leg back even further making it extremely difficult to get to it. This is just one option in one scenario, but how you set up your stance makes a huge difference in both your offense and your defense.
Check out these two videos where Mike Malinconinco and Kyle Dake go over different aspects of a wrestling stance.
Here is Kyle Dake's Take:
Hopefully this helps you to take another look at your wrestling stance and encourages you to work on it more. Remember, there is not one correct wrestling stance for everyone. Every wrestler’s stance is a little bit different. Play around with your stance at practice. Switch up your lead legs and see if that makes a difference or change up how far you stagger your legs. Stance work is something that all wrestlers should be working on. Be sure you are putting the time in to developing your stance too.
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