Three Takedowns For Beginners
If you are new to the sport of wrestling, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. There are so many different moves and positions and minor technical elements to things that can sometimes make wrestling frustrating. If you feel this way, just remember a couple things. First of all, all wrestlers started at the beginning and felt exactly like you. No one comes to wrestling already knowing a bunch of takedowns and has great technique. Another thing to remember is to focus on a couple basic moves and once you feel you have them down, then you can start to branch out.
One of the main positions in wrestling is on the feet where you are trying to earn takedowns. There are so many different ways you can take an opponent down, but here are three basic takedowns that will help to simplify your offense.
High Crotch To Double Leg by Dan Vallimont
A high crotch is a basic takedown in wrestling that you can see in both folkstyle and freestyle at all levels of competition. 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.
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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.
Front Headlock Throw by Bekzod Abdurakhminov
The second takedown is a throw by from a front headlock position. Watch how Bekzod lowers his shoulder to down block his opponent then uses a simple snap to end up in the front headlock position. This finish can be hit from an open or closed front headlock.
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The first key point to hitting this throw by is you need to keep a lot of pressure on your opponent’s head and neck. In addition to pressure, you have to keep your opponent moving. If you stop moving, it will allow them time to defend the front headlock. Watch how Bekzod chases the far leg to get his opponent circling. Also pay attention to how he continues to snap his opponent.
If you are chasing 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.
Low Single Leg by Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo is an Olympic gold medalist and one takedown that he used a lot during his wrestling career was a low single leg. A low single is great because it allows you to go under your opponent’s first line of defense, which is their head and hands.
Unlike most shots, 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. 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 new to wrestling, one thing you will quickly learn is to get better at any move, you must spend a lot of time drilling it. Find a couple of basic, yet effective takedowns, like the ones listed above, and spend a lot of time hitting them in practice. It is better to have a couple takedowns you are really good at than know a lot of takedowns that you can only do poorly.
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