7 Tactics for Breaking Opponents & Winning Tough Matches

1) Opponent Stands Up From Bottom.

Do: Lift and Return

Don’t: Pull them on top of you, Release easily or drop to legs and hold on.

The Lift-n-Return is one of the prettiest moves in wrestling. You know you’re watching a tough wrestler when they relentless lift and return from the top. If you want to let your opponent go and they stand up on you, I suggest you lift-n-return and then release. Be sure they know they didn’t earn the point… You gave it to them.

2) Top position

Do: Keep constant forward pressure while working for breakdowns and turns.

Don’t: Try to hang on or float on top of your opponent

The best rides are all executed with toes dug in the mat and grinding pressure. Even if you don’t get the turn your goal is to let them know who is in charge and get inside their head when you’re on top. MANY close matches are won by not letting your opponent out from bottom or wearing them out with a tough grinding ride.

3) Bottom Position

Do: Relentlessly get to your feet and know solid leg defense.

Don’t: Roll around and rely on trick moves.

Stand ups won’t always work, but they will often create the action that is needed to get away from tougher opponents.

4) Solid Shot Defense

Do: Square hips, toe down on the feet and look to clear leg(s) to Front Headlocks

Don’t: Give away angles, sit to your butt or let them lift you.

Ideally, nobody should get to your legs but the fact is it is going to happen. Give your opponent as little as possible and look to score off their leg attacks. Train yourself to use the most fundamental shot defense techniques and you won’t give up as many takedowns and you will save yourself from injury.

5) Never watch the clock

Do: Listen to your coach for updates and train yourself to wrestle hard until you hear the whistle

Don’t: Never look to the clock in a close match during any action.

Train yourself to wrestle harder at the end of periods no matter what the score is.

6) Last 20 seconds of every period

Do: Win these short goes or at least break even

Don’t: Never lose the last 20 seconds

Get the take down, escape or reversal when in the neutral or bottom position. Keep your opponent down or develop a safe & reliable quick turn to score with when on top. Never, get taken down or let an opponent escape or reverse you in the last 20 seconds of a period.

7) On the leg(s) from a shot

Do: Get to your feet and finish, escape the weight and finish or clear out.

Don’t: Drop to your haunches, hold on or stand still on your feet.

Ideally, a wrestler will maintain continuous motion from set up to shot through the finish. But realistically many wrestlers get caught under their opponents and they need a strategy to deal with this.

If you follow these rules all the time, no matter what the score is, you will learn to wrestle to dominate. Being relentless with your attacks and extremely stingy are the keys to wrestling success. Master these positions and scenarios and find yourself winning a lot more close matches and feeling opponents break as the match goes on.

Daryl Weber is a Gable Trained NCAA Champion.