We believe that a wrestler, to be effective, must master a few fundamental moves in a chain or series. Thus, we employ five elementary drills that teach wrestlers the basic series in fundamental wrestling.
NOTE: Because of the large turnout and limited wrestling room space, we consolidated and carefully selected each drill to accomplish the most from each series.
When a boy masters the basic wrestling series, he can start adding to his repertoire.
Shooting against wall: We begin by having our wrestlers shoot against a cinderblock wall. All wrestlers must shoot within an area two blocks wide and four blocks high. They must always stand at the base of the wall.
COACHING POINTS: Stance; elbows in; arms shooting straight out; back straight; head up; palms flat; belly against wall; shoot with both left and right knee down.
Multiple techniques: The next drill covers many different techniques. We place one wrestler on his right knee and on the ball of his left foot—a position he would be in if he has shot against the wall. Another wrestler faces him an arm’s length away.
On the whistle, both boys race across the wrestling room—wrestler down must stay down; the other wrestler runs backwards. From the down position, the wrestler can use the double-leg tackle, single leg, back heel, or ankle pickup.
COACHING POINTS (Using drill offensively): Elbows in; shoot arms straight out; back straight; head into opponent’s ribs; lift and pull opponent’s leg into your body; ankle trip; quarter turn on knee, landing on a good base; come up quickly, head up, for a quarter-nelson pin.
COACHING POINTS (Using drill defensively): Reaction; sprawl; pancake spin; crossface (with possible cradle); counter double leg.
At first one wrestler may outrun the other. If this is so, then the one down is shooting too slow or is not carrying through and individual work on shooting is necessary.
TIPS: Do not use the drill as a combination, for it is designed to allow offensive or defensive coaching points. Using it as both discourages young wrestlers. There are several games that can be worked out, and you can make wrestling a lot of fun while working hard.
Football blocking dummy: For this drill we employ a foam rubber blocking dummy 4 feet high, 12 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. The wrestler facing the dummy assumes his attack stance and moves as if facing an opponent. The wrestler holding the dummy moves about as if he were going to attack.
The wrestler shooting sets up the wrestler holding the dummy and shoots. Upon contact, the dummy holder releases the dummy and the wrestler shooting carries through his moves completely. Coaching points include—stance; movement on attack; telegraphing moves; arms straight out; and most important, the setting up of the opponent.
NOTE: These three drills complete the series while on the feet. As you can see, one drill can accomplish several purposes, thus saving much needed time. Make your wrestlers work both left and right, using both left and right knee down and landing both ways. We believe that when you are on the bottom, constant movement is a must. We tell our wrestlers that if their butts are not moving, they are not moving.
Float drill. We use two basic drills from the down position that complete all our basic moves; the first is a float drill. One wrestler is down, the other in position on top. We tell the top man not to block or pin but just ride and counter, staying on top.
The bottom man works on his basic moves—side switch, turn under, sit out, switch, turn under, inside switch, stand-up switch.
COACHING POINTS (Top man): Balance; not too high; mouth shut; carriage of head; control of opponent’s head; throwing of feet and legs; throw down from behind; counters.
COACHING POINTS (Bottom man): Keep the rear end moving; control of arms; head up; off of your belly or side; make more than one move in the series.
We start this drill with 30-second periods and four periods: #1 on top right side, #1 on bottom, #1 on top left side, #1 on bottom. We stress working from both the left and right sides. If a reversal occurs, he immediately starts down again, wasting no time beginning again.
Blindfold drill: This is our most popular drill. We blindfold the bottom wrestler. We do this because we believe that a wrestler must be able to feel, not see his moves, and to balance and counterbalance. In the more advanced drill, we blindfold both wrestlers.
COACHING POINTS: The bottom man, blindfolded, soon realizes that he must be in constant motion. He must plan his attack with the basic reversals and not make a mistake. The top man soon realizes he must use his balance—also, he soon learns the hazards of not countering properly. He must sense his opponent’s move instead of waiting for it to hit him too late.
We allow the blindfolded wrestlers to go two minutes or until a pin occurs. We also allow the wrestlers to fight off the back. They work on their own blindfolded, because it points up weaknesses in the their wrestling. They do not have to be told.
Conclusion: The five basic sets or series of drills we use fit our style of wrestling. By using your imagination, you can work these drills into situations and positions—and still have a little fun with the work involved.