Top 10 High School Football Teams In The Nation High School Wrestling: My 10 Favorite Moves

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High School Wrestling: My 10 Favorite Moves

I have never used a throw in my wrestling career. Throwing just wasn’t my thing. High amplitude throws look cool and can score a wrestler a quick 5 and maybe even lead to pins. However, dumps are also high-risk moves. Throws are high-risk, high-reward moves. Investing in commodities is also a high-risk, high-reward endeavor. I want to put my money in a savings account or CD with a reliable rate of return on my investment.

Similarly, in wrestling, I like to use my practice time to drill double legs, single legs, and standing. In football, you see a lot of hand-holding and short passes. You don’t often see trick plays or really long passes (ie bombs). Often a team will hit a field goal instead of attempting a punt because a field goal is a more reliable thing. I think you see what I’m getting at. It’s good to learn throws and counters. However, the fundamentals usually win in wrestling matches. This is probably a message you’ve heard before. Ninety percent of the time, you’ll probably use the same moves. You can use a different version of the move or set it up differently, but still use the same basic move.

I had a teammate in high school who loved to tag anyone he wrestled with. This worked in middle school, but stopped working in high school. If you are good at junk then go for it. However, most NCAA champions and Olympic free throw champions are not. Watch a video of John Smith or Tom Brands and see how long they throw. I don’t think I’ve ever seen both wrestlers throw in a match.

Most of the following moves can be easily found online or in books. Several of them are shown in online videos. I’m sure you know all these moves. They are basic movements. However, basic moves win games, so everyone uses them. The important thing is to find the right ways to implement these movements. Remember the importance of adjusting your moves, not just shooting wildly. Always be aware of your position. Don’t try to imitate other wrestlers or make moves because your coach thinks they’re good. Find out what works for you. Take the time to learn your craft (ie wrestling). Don’t be fooled by flashy moves and instant gratification. Practice and practice the fundamental movements religiously. Don’t waste time in practice or competition doing moves that will probably only work two percent of the time. Now, here are my ten favorite moves.

1. Eliminate the double leg

Double legs is one of the first moves I learned. Double legs are one of the first moves most wrestlers learn. Judo has a similar technique known as morotegari (double arm chop or double leg grab). What could be simpler than fighting someone by grabbing both of his legs? Kids probably do this all the time. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that. Proper technique is required. You don’t want to overextend. Your opponent can knock you down and roll up or put you in a front headlock. Therefore, make sure you take a deep step while keeping your bottom. Some wrestlers like to drive through their opponents and some like to lift their opponent off the ground and finish with a double leg. In elementary school, we were always told that “on two feet you keep your head out. On one foot you keep your head in.” Sometimes you can lock your hands while doing a double leg and then use your head as a stick to knock down your opponent. I had a high school teammate who used two feet 99% of the time when he was standing. He placed third in the state tournament his senior year. Sometimes you can get away with repeating the same move over and over when you’re really good at it. You can often switch to a double leg after completing a single high leg. Double legs is a very low risk move. If you don’t finish it, you will often end up back on your feet. Former UFC champion Matt Hughes often used two legs in his fights and beat his opponents to the mat. Mixed martial artists often learn how to perform a double leg. Of course, you cannot hit your opponent in traditional wrestling. However, removing the two legs is a great move. The double leg is a high percentage move (ie it works most of the time).

2. Removal of one leg

The other single leg is the main approach. I mostly used one leg in high school. There are numerous ways to set up and complete a single leg. Single leg is also a high percentage movement. Push and pull your opponent so that he attacks your leg forward. You want to attack him “heavy” on your feet. Lower your level and shoot as a strong foundation with your hips under you. Keep your head in and pull the corner to the side. Or, don’t close and make sure you’re close enough to get your shot in without overextending. I think it’s too easy to shoot from one leg. I think the real secret is being able to do it. You’ll need to swing around and grab his far ankle. You may need to pull his ankle to your knee to help lift his leg. You may need to raise the tripod and then do a scoot boot. Spend a lot of time working on ties, setting up and finishing soles and other finishes.

3. Eliminate the high cage

A high heel is a type of sole. It also looks like chicken underneath. You can install a high cage under the cage, a two-to-one tie, or many other ways. I like to hit a high kick and then finish it off with a double leg takedown.

4. Wizzer

If someone is shooting for a takedown, you can spread, tune, and face him. I consider a whizzer to be a basic and effective move to counter leg attacks. Weezer does a deep kick to your nearby hand as he tries to knock out his opponent. The pressure of the showcase on your opponent’s arm is enough to parry his attack. Sometimes in an awkward situation, you can wrap your free arm around his neck and drive him into the pole in a half nelson. Other times you stay on your feet with the viser still safe and you can try to throw your opponents with the attack. The visor is an important move and should be drilled frequently.

5. Get up

This is the standard move to escape from the bottom position. Keeping your elbows in, rise explosively, break your opponent’s grip and face off. Hand and arm control is important. You must be good at hand to hand combat. Once you’ve broken his grip, you can try to grab the captured hand and put it in your “back pocket” before quickly facing away. The stops are great for getting this 1-point escape. Make sure you search aggressively immediately after escaping.

6. Transition

I love the transition. The takedown is the main comeback technique in wrestling. It involves a robbery type move. Sometimes it helps to get back to your opponent before you spin and swing your hips out to hit the button. I really enjoyed doing the “standing switch” in high school. I got up from the bottom position. When he lifted me back onto the pole, I immediately hit the button. You need to know how to do a standing transition.

7. Sit down

This is another fundamental move from the bottom position. Once you get to a sitting position, you can often perform a robbery and escape. Also, if your opponent sticks his head over your shoulder, you can grab it and turn hard in the opposite direction and put him on his back. Sitting is basic and you need to know how to do it.

8. Body leg riding

Cross-body riding is performed from the top position and involves placing one or both of your legs inside your opponent’s legs. We used to call it the “cowboy ride” if the wrestler put both feet in. When I was having trouble keeping my opponent down, I loved using the body rider. I was doing turks and guillotines from a cross position. Sometimes I just used the rider to break the opponents. I was once ridden by a competitor for the entire circuit who planted both feet and used a half nelson power. It wasn’t fun. A cross body may have a higher risk. You have to keep your back arched and don’t let yourself get too far behind your opponent. However, I think it is an effective move. Olympic champion Ben Peterson was good at riding legs.

9. Hand bar (with chicken wings)

The arm bar was one of my favorite moves. I often used single and double bars. I liked to secure a single arm bar and then swing my leg over my opponent’s head and use it as a pipe. This usually caused my opponent to fall back. Dan Gable was exceptional on the arm bars.

10. Nelson the front quarter

The front quarter nelson is a great move after you’ve spread and stopped the opponent’s kick. You put one hand on the back of his head and your other hand behind his nearby arm. Then you place the hand that you tied behind his near arm on top of the hand behind his head. You apply pressure, lifting his nearby arm and forcing his head to the floor. You can often turn him on his back this way. I used to use a front quarter nelson, force my opponent to move in one direction, and then drag or drop him with an arm while I spun around for the takedown.

Other favorite moves

  • Raleigh Granby
  • Cradles
  • Low singleness
  • Foot selection
  • Internal travel (in judo it is called ouchi-gari)
  • manual drag
  • Half Nelson

Remember, fundamentals win wrestling matches. Practice carefully and drill your moves religiously. I hope some of my favorite moves are your favorites too.

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