Situation Scrimmages for Wrestlers


In the strategic situations, we assign points to each wrestler and set a time limit. The following are some of our strategic situations:

1. Neutral position, 30 seconds remaining in the match, one wrestler ahead by 1 point, and no time advantage. The main objective in this drill is to teach the wrestler to go all out when behind and wrestle aggressively but intelligently when in the lead. Care must be taken that stalling is not permitted.

2. Wrestler in control leading by 2 points, and 30 seconds left in the match. The man in control must wrestle aggressively, but he should be aware that he should give up the escape if he gets in trouble rather than be reversed.

3. Wrestler in control has his opponent in a pinning combination with 30 seconds left in the match, and has completed the requirements of a near fall, thus giving him a 1-point lead.


The objective here is to teach the wrestler in control to maintain his balance and keep his opponent on his back. If he must allow anything, he should allow his opponent to turn to his stomach and escape the pinning combination—but not score any points.

4. One wrestler in control with the score tied and 30 seconds left in the match. Both wrestlers must go all out to gain the win. The top man must wrestle aggressively, working for the pin or predicament or near fall points, yet he cannot allow the defensive man to score or he will probably lose. The bottom man must realize that when he wrestles more aggressively, the top man must counter his moves and has less chance to work a pinning combination. He knows that he must escape or reverse to win.

NOTE: In these strategic situations, the wrestlers will exchange positions, and usually each man will be in each situation twice.


In the technical situations, we scrimmage on the basic moves that are practical in certain situations. We feel that by scrimmaging in specific situations, the wrestler will automatically react and move with confidence when he is confronted with them.

1. Tight waist and ankle ride: This is a very popular ride in our area, and it can cause problems for the wrestler who is not prepared to attack it. We scrimmage for a 30-second period, with the top man working for the pin and the bottom man working for an escape.

Basically, we want our bottom wrestlers to post the controlled ankle with the knee pointing to the ceiling, pick the hand off the ankle, control it, and then move immediately while he has control of the hand.

2. Cross body ride: While we feel that not all our wrestlers will become skilled at leg wrestling, each man should be able to counter leg rides.

Here, while the top man is working for the guillotine, split-scissors, or Jacobs’ pin, we want the bottom man to sit toward the grapevined leg and come up in control with the cross body ride. If this is not possible, he should control his opponent’s left arm (assuming the grapevine is with the first leg) with both hands and sit towards the grapevine, extending the opponent’s arm under his body and laying back to flatten out his opponent—and then come up on top.

3. The whizzer: When drilling in this situation, we use two positions. First, the wrestlers are in a neutral position such as a counter for a takedown, and, secondly, the man applying the whizzer is in the down position.

From this series, we teach a variety of moves. For instance, we teach the man applying the whizzer the bump-and-pull to break down his opponent, and the man being whizzered is taught the limp arm—as the first moves in the series.

Other moves for the man being whizzered which we have found effective are the “head chancery” if his opponent turns his head toward him, and the “roll through” if his opponent has a strong bump-and-pull. He must time the bump and the roll when the opponent bumps, or he can get caught on his back.

NOTE: The man applying the whizzer can bump and then spin away from the bump to a neutral position, scoring 1 point if he was in the down position.

4. Neutral position with man on his knees: In this neutral position, man A is on his knees in the double-leg tackle position and his arms are around the other wrestler’s legs, but hands are not locked. Man B is standing with his arms at his sides. When the whistle blows, wrestler A attempts to secure a takedown with a double-leg tackle and wrestler B attempts to sprawl and cross-face to counter the takedown.

We let the wrestlers scrimmage until one wrestler has secured a takedown. This allows the wrestler a chance to gain confidence in his ability to use another move when the first attempt is countered. Also, the other wrestler will develop a better knowledge of countering takedowns. We hope to instill the feeling that if he can counter a takedown attempt from this situation, he should not get taken down in an actual match.

5. Switch position with wrestler on both knees: Wrestler A is in a switch position with wrestler B on both knees and one hand on the mat. On the whistle, wrestler A attempts to execute the switch, while wrestler B will attempt to counter the switch with either a step-over, limp arm, or re-switch. We usually place each man in each position two to four times during a practice.

NOTE: These drills are an important part of our practice sessions. We spend more time in the early season drilling on the basic moves in a non-scrimmage setting first, and then utilize them in situation scrimmages. As the season progresses, we spend less time in situation scrimmages.


These, of course, are not the only situations we use during the course of the season. If we find a certain area needs improvement, we isolate that situation and drill on it. We feel that we can increase the experience level of wrestlers more rapidly by exposing them to and drilling them in situations that will commonly occur in actual wrestling matches.

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