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Top-Tier Tips With Bo Nickal

Top-Tier Tips With Bo Nickal


Most wrestlers have a good idea on how to stuff a takedown, but Bo Nickal KNOWS how to systematically stuff the takedown and counter with match ending cradles. If your opponents understand the consequences of a failed shot against you they will be apprehensive in making an honest attempt to do so. 

Bo is a 3x NCAA national champion and Hodge trophy recipient. While he has been preparing for the 2020 Olympics he has made time for the wrestling community by shooting multiple instructionals with Fanaticwrestling.com. His most recent release is titled Systematic Cradles and Pinning Combinations. This 2-part series is crammed with crippling cradle details. 

Take a look at this snippet from Bo’s instructional, where he shows how to efficiently sprawl against an aggressive takedown attempt. 


As Bo points out the best way to defend the double leg is to not get there! Ideally with good movement and your own attacks your opponent won't have time to shoot. That said, it’s gonna happen. So the question is how good is your sprawl?

The Hodge Trophy winner points out some of the finer details to fending off the double leg. To do this he focuses on three different aspects stuffing the head, the belly whizzer, and movement. 

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Notice when Bo stuffs the head he is constantly putting his hand at the base of his opponent’s skull. This helps prevent them from looking up. If you can cause this downward pressure that prevents your opponent from regaining their posture it will be much harder to turn the corner for them. He then uses the belly whizzer to help maintain better attachment to his opponent. Movement is crucial here. You need to circle towards the head, otherwise your opponent will be able to run you that same direction and secure the takedown. Remember to drive OVER the head.

So what are your options from this front headlock position? A cradle of course! 


Bo gets to the front headlock positionly different this time around. Instead of defending a shot he is proactively snapping his opponent down to the mat. He uses a slick movement based set up that exploits how your opponent reacts when you are pushing into them. Once it hits the mat you are basically in the same position as where we left off with the last technique. So let’s transition to the roll through cradle. It’s important to mention that Bo was not only a recipient of the Hodge Trophy but also the Schalles award which recognizes the best pinner in college wrestling!

Systematically Cradle your opponent with Schalles Award winner Bo Nickal!



The hand Bo used to stuff the head is now going to snag his opponent’s head as he sweeps his body around and uses his other hand to grab the ankle. This is a motion that Bo obviously has super polished but with some time and effort you will be able to manage a little more swiftness when reacting off of the double. Once his hands are engaged he now places his forehead directly into the hip to drive his opponent over. As his opponent crumples to the mat Bo immediately locks his hands. 

While they are in this crumpled position, now is the time to attack. It’s important to understand that your opponent will have a free arm to base on to the mat. This is the time to go for the roll through cradle the other direction. Bo shows this around the 1:00 minute mark. As he dives his head into position, make note of what his feet do. He uses them to circle himself around which helps roll your opponent through. It’s important to not roll flat, as Bo shows it’s important to keep your feet engaged on the mat to give you that extra horsepower required to finish the roll-through. 

Systematic Cradles and Pinning Combinations is a collection of Bo’s favorite techniques. It is sure to provide a jolt of effectiveness to your mat work! Learn from 3x NCAA National Champ Bo Nickal, and make his game YOURS!