High school wrestlers have become stronger and more technically advanced over the years.
“Wrestling is evolving all the time,” said Pomona coach Sam Federico, citing an increase in club and year-round participation.
Still, the basic moves …
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There are many moves that sometimes go by different names that are used by wrestlers to create takedowns or pin opponents. Listed is a basic description of a few of the top moves obtained from a variety of sources.
Single-leg takedown — From the neutral position, a wrestler uses a quick aggressive shot to the closest leg of the opponent, wrapping his or her arms around the leg while locking hands together.
Double-leg takedown — Similar to the single-leg takedown while standing. The wrestler grabs both legs of the opponent and locks his or her hands. Grabbing both legs gives the advantage of being able to drive or slam the opponent.
High C — A move similar to the double-leg takedown, but the wrestler reaches the inside of one of the opponent’s legs and, with knees bent low and with the head up, the wrestler finds himself in a good position to earn takedown points.
Half-nelson — This move is good for executing a pin. One arm is slipped under the opponents’ armpit with the hand wrapped around the back of his neck. The free hand holds the opponent’s other hand so the half-nelson can’t be broken.
Ankle pick — Quick hands can get the opponent on the mat with this low-risk move. With one hand on the opponents’ neck, the move in the reaction of the hands forces the opponent to step with the other leg. That’s when the ankle of the opposing wrestler can be grabbed with the free hand to put the opposition off balance.
Fireman’s carry — This is another good takedown from the up position which requires both strength and quickness, where the wrestler crouches on one knee and picks up the opponent and tilts him or her over the shoulder.
Leg sweep — This move can take the opponent to the mat hard. Basically a wrestler has his arms inside the opponent’s arms and uses his or her own legs to cause the opponent to fall. This is also used for the leg trap movement.
Sprawl — When facing an opponent who loves to shoot, sprawling helps prevent takedowns by scooting legs back away from the opponent’s reach.
Granby — This reversal from the bottom can prevent a loss or create a win. The bottom wrestler straightens up slightly, cross steps under the body and perform a roll to the inside shoulder.
Cradle — All the opponent can do is struggle with his hands. The wrestler grabs the opponent’s neck with one arm and wraps his or her elbow behind the opponent’s knee while locking both hands together.
Bump to tight-waist — This is good to control the opponent from the top position. With arm tight around the waist, the wrestler blocks the front arm near the elbow with his or her arm and eventually breaks down the opponent.
Arm drag — With the opposing arm, the wrestler grabs the opponent’s wrist and hooks the other arm from the neutral position, and with a shoveling move pushes the opponent’s arm to the mat.
Gazzoni — This is an escape move from the referee’s bottom position where the wrestler kicks his feet out, pushes back and comes to his or her feet while grabbing the opponent’s lower hand.
Blast double — This powerful takedown looks like a football tackle, in which the wrestler grabs both legs of the opponent and forces or tackles him to the mat.
Still, the basic moves from yesteryear remain the foundation of the sport.
Ponderosa coach Corey McNellis, a former two-time Colorado state champion wrestler, said you will see many of the same moves in matches today as years ago.
“In wrestling, long story short, it’s the same,” he said.
McNellis can list myriad tried-and-true moves. For example, there is the high C, which stands for high crotch, in which the wrestler reaches the inside of one of the opponent’s legs, and with knees bent low and head up, finds himself in a good position to earn takedown points.
Legacy coach Mike Thompson also agrees the best moves are the old ones, but said the setups have changed.
“I’ve been around wrestling since the ’70s and the best techniques are the ones that date back to the ’70s,” he said. “The biggest changes I’ve seen are the type of setups being used and the type of chain wrestling (method of linking offensive moves and counters together) being used and the scramble situations created by the chain wrestling.
“Some of that is due to the rules changes, and the positioning of a wrestler has changed a little bit, which creates a little bit more scrambling, but the actual move that is initiated is still the basic single, double, cradle and stuff like that. How it is set up and finished are some of the changes that have come in, which has also created some scramble situations and more need for chain wrestling.”
Chaparral coach Rod Padilla often spends practice sessions drilling his wrestlers on moves, counter moves and instruction on how to work out of situations, which is important once a wrestler is in a match and all it takes is a quick suggestion to start a new move.
While the basics haven’t changed, wrestlers are influenced to try new things.
“There will be waves of going to a different move that is more popular,” McNellis said. “Usually it has to do with if there is a popular Olympic wrestler who does something really well. Jordan Burroughs is right now the best in the world at the blast double. I’ve seen that trickle down. I’ve seen a lot of kids now hitting a blast double more than, say, a single or something like that.”
The blast double is a powerful takedown that looks a lot like a tackle in football, where the wrestler grabs both legs of the opponent and forces or tackles him to the mat.
Wrestling still comes down to mental and physical toughness and executing your best and favorite moves.
Mosha Schwartz, a 106-pounder from Ponderosa, knows what he likes.
“I like to go low singles and fireman’s maybe,” said Swartz, referring to the single-leg takedown and fireman’s carry moves. “It all depends on how guys are reacting to my moves.”
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