Picking up a new sport could prove a challenging decision, especially if you don’t know too much about it. If your choice is wrestling, this article aims to describe some of the most common equipment pieces and how to use them for moves and techniques on the mat, provided that you already know the rules and wear a pair of professional wrestling shoes to prevent ankle sprains and injuries.
So, let’s start with the basics.
How to stand
Standing on the mat is different as wrestling uses two basic stances that you’ll have to learn and practice if you want to have a shot at defeating your opponent.
The staggered stance implies that one foot is ahead of the other and you put most of your body weight on the front foot. The other move is named the square stance where wrestlers have to stand with both their feet parallel to each other, evenly distributing their body weight on both their feet.
Before engaging in any attack or defense techniques on the mat, you must know how to breathe properly. Each movement should be accompanied by the right breathing technique so you won’t get tired or lose too much oxygen at once. For instance, slow movements require slow breathing techniques by inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
On the other hand, explosive breathing boosts your body, preparing it for explosive or “quick attack” moves on your opponent. The trick is to breathe slowly and exhale as quickly as you can.
The penetrating shot
One of the basic moves you’ll learn as a newbie wrestler is how to weaken your opponent’s defense through a technique called the penetrating shot. For this move, you will start in the previously described staggered stance.
Lower your entire body toward the wrestling mat. Move your body weight on your back foot and, with your leading foot, try placing it between the legs of your opponent. Press forward with your leading foot and bend so that you can land on your front knee. With your foot firmly sitting on the mat, try to grab the legs of your opponent and put him down.
The basic shoot
Another basic move, the simple shooting represents the foundation for many other takedown techniques you’ll learn when wrestling. A winning shoot will allow you to get through your opponent’s defenses fast enough to be the one engaging in an attack.
Lower your body to stand beneath your opponent and step forward on the mat. Drop on one knee using your dominant leg and, from that position, try to place your other foot into your opponent, while the knee gets between his legs. Make sure you stand as close to your opponent as possible to control both his legs and prevent him from trying a defense.
Lifting your opponent
Another basic move in this contact sport implies lifting your opponent in order to take him down. The easiest method to do so is to stand behind him with your shoulders squarely above your hips. Wrap your arms around your opponent’s waist by locking your palms as tight as possible.
Once you find yourself in this position, try to gently bring your opponent to the mat by pushing through your legs for more power. Slamming or throwing your partner directly to the mat represents an illegal move that will get you disqualified.
The single-leg takedown
This attack move is preferred by heavyweight wrestlers and can be used when your opponent displays an excellent defense. This move aims to shake the defense and bring your partner on the mat.
Shoot toward your opponent, aiming for one of his legs, preferably the back one as that’s where only part of his body weight is distributed, making it vulnerable and easier to take down.
Don’t forget to maintain a firm grip on the ankle throughout the move to prevent him from regaining balance. From that position, try twisting or tripping your opponent on the mat to earn the two points offered for a takedown in competitions.
The double-leg takedown
This is one of the first attack moves your coach should teach you, perhaps even before learning the previously mentioned single-leg move. The technique is similar to the single-leg takedown, except that you will aim for both of your partner’s legs at the same time.
However, you shouldn’t go for the ankles, but for the knees, keeping your head on your opponent’s knees and pushing it to gain more power on your hands. No matter your technique, the result should be the same – you should take your partner to the mat.
The sprawl defense
These three techniques go hand in hand because they have many similarities. If your opponent tries to pull the single or the double-leg takedown on you, the best way to defend yourself is through a similar sprawling technique.
The method should basically teach you to deny your opponents the necessary elements to finish their takedowns and put you on the mat. You should anticipate the move and drop your hips, shifting your legs in different directions. Use your hands to push down on your opponent’s head and prevent him from completing the takedown.
This will create enough confusion, determining your competitor to abandon his intentions.
Sometimes, you cannot anticipate your rival’s next move, so you’ll have to just play by ear. In other situations, you won’t have enough time to think ahead your next move. And what about the times when your opponent is constantly attacking you, leaving you with no room to breathe? The answer to all these problems lies in the escaping techniques.
If your opponent is holding you on your left side, you should move your left foot to the right. At the same time, remember to lift your right knee and plant the same right foot on the mat. In this position, try and lean back into your rival by pushing through your right foot in an attempt to get up again.
The arm drag
Another popular move amongst wrestlers is this one that involves pinning down your opponent’s wrist using your arm. From that position, take a step forward with the opposite leg and engage in a move that will allow you to escape your competitor’s arm. This gives you the perfect angle for various different takedowns.