Monday, November 1, 2010

Seven Basic Skills

Although wrestling has many moves and techniques, USA Wrestling considers the sport to have seven basic skills.

The seven basic skills are:

• Stance

• Motion

• Level Change

• Penetration

• Lifting

• Back Step

• Back Arch

While in the neutral (standing) position, some wrestlers prefer a square stance while others prefer a staggered stance. Either stance can work equally well. Make sure you have most of your weight on the balls of your feet as opposed to your heels. You should never be standing straight up and leaving yourself open to a takedown from your opponent. You should utilize a comfortable but effective stance. You need a stance that allows you to attack as well as defend.

Wrestling involves a tremendous amount of motion. You may circle your opponent. You may attack your opponent with a takedown attempt. You may snap your opponent to the mat and spin around behind him. You may sprawl to defend against a takedown. You need to learn to move fluidly and quickly. You don't want to be clumsy or sloppy. You need to execute moves explosively and crisply.

Level Change
Before a wrestler shoots a takedown, he must lower his level. This is accomplished by lowering his hips. When a wrestler sprawls to counter a takedown he is also using level change. In addition, a wrestler may lower and raise his level to force a reaction from his opponent. A wrestler needs to be able to maintain good posture while changing levels. For instance, you don't want to get overextended when shooting a takedown because you forgot to lower your level first. Always bend at the knees, not at the waist.

Obviously, when you shoot for a takedown on your opponent, you don't merely reach for his legs or dive wildly for his legs. Instead, you make sure you are close enough to your opponent and then take a deep penetration step keeping your back straight and your head up. You lower your level and penetrate deeply being sure to keep your hips forward and beneath your shoulders while you drive through your opponent.

A wrestler often lifts his opponent off the mat when executing a takedown. He may also lift an opponent who has performed a stand up from the bottom position. He lifts his opponent and returns him to the mat. The legs and hips are most important when lifting. For instance, when you shoot a double leg, you don't lift with your back. You get your hips squarely beneath you and then use your leg and hip strength to lift your opponent off the mat. When a wrestler has been lifted off the mat, he is in a very vulnerable position lacking support and balance.

Back Step
A back step is most often seen when a wrestler executes a throw.

Back Arch
When a wrestler attempts a throw, he often pops his hips under his opponent while arching his back.

Other Skills
Other important basic skills include setting up takedowns, pummeling, wrist control, and hand fighting.


  1. I have been a middle school coach for nearly 30 years. We are near the end of our season and these are the things we are reviewing or correcting: The list might be too sketchy in places.

    Mondays practice:

    Off top position on the mat:
    Review near leg cradle off a start on the mat / far leg cradle off start on top.
    Crossface cradle.
    Standing cradle to step over finish.
    Bump to arm bar.

    Off bottom defenses:
    Short sit to tight circle spin – arm up
    Short sit to tight circle spin to step over to leg election.
    Step over from a near ankle

    Rule: never give up a take until the coach tells you to.
    Drill: Whizzer wars.

    Switch and reswitch to tight waist and crowding back into the opponent to prevent his reswitch.
    Short sit to the front to head tap .
    Standing switch to leg attack to elevation of oppon leg
    Stand up to an ankle pick to elecation.

    Review all issues in working for a half nelson pin. We are not getting the job done,here, if
    the opponent’s butt is up/ we are not stepping over/ we are not hanging onto the
    the wrist as we step over to throw the half. Etc.

  2. Thanks for the feedback and info John. It must be fun and rewarding working with kids and teaching them wrestling skills.

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