Ask Cael: Can you explain why college wrestlers defense is so different?Story Published Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
name:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Curt
question:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I notice the style of defense in high school and college is different meaning in high school they teach you to sprawl your hips out when the guy gets in on a shot but in college I see a lot of guys on the backs of the offensive wrestler for instance when you wrestled in 1999 for your first NCAA title I noticed when you shot in your opponentâ€™s head was posted on the mat his legs were in your face can you explain why college wrestlers defense is so different?Â
Curt, this is a good question.Â Shot defense has changed over time.Â College wrestlers arenâ€™t consistently defending shots with basic, fundamental defense.Â Instead of sprawling they are jumping up over their opponent and trying to grab ankles, roll around and score in an orthodox fashion. I canâ€™t say that itâ€™s a terrible thing because I did it myself and so did my brothers in college wrestling.Â We were actually pretty good at scoring off our opponentâ€™s shots.Â It is just positioning, technique and a few tricks.Â Â A few key points to creating and winning scrambles would be to keep your hips up, capture and keep the far ankle of your opponent, keep your knees wide and attack.Â
To get good at scrambling you have to spend a lot of time playing and experimenting in those positions.Â I would discourage stalemates in practice unless the wrestlers are in bad position and risk injury.Â You want wrestlers to find ways to score points.Â Just because you donâ€™t score off your initial shot doesnâ€™t mean you canâ€™t find another way to score from the position.Â The best wrestlers keep moving and find a way to score when others hope for a stalemate.Â The only way to learn something is to try it and play with it.
If I were you I would keep teaching fundamental defense.Â We work on fundamental shot defense almost every day.Â It is very important. Two days probably donâ€™t go by in a row that we donâ€™t have our guys rehearse baseline D (legs back, hips low, hips in, stuff the head down or away, fight hands etc .Â We make sure our guys know how to win scrambles but we want them to sprawl first.Â The best wrestlers will finish their shots on a wrestler with bad fundamental defense.Â It is very difficult to defend a shot with a good set up and quick finish.Â
These habits and tactics arenâ€™t helping our post-college international wrestling.Â Baseline defense is very important in freestyle wrestling.Â The solution to wrestlers who donâ€™t sprawl correctly is to get your head up, get and keep weight on your feet and drive through them.Â You have to get your head up quickly and keep your hips under you.Â Â
Unorthadox defense, scrambling, diving under to catch ankles should only be used as a last resort.Â Baseline defense should always be the initial focus of the defensive wrestler.
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