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Reviewing the Basic Skills of Wrestling



The Basic Skills of Wrestling are those actions which wrestlers must consistently practice in order to be successful in the sport. USA Wrestling has identified twelve skills which coaches should constantly engage athletes in. The skills range from the simple concept of good stance and positioning to the more complex skills of back arch. In order for coaches to see improvement from their wrestlers it is important to actively involve athletes with drills that focus wrestlers back to the Basic Skills. Coaches often want to involve kids with particular moves; however, it is helpful to wrestlers for the coach to identify the Basic Skills that are contained within move series. USA Wrestling's National Instructional Video Syllabus for Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling is a four-tape set that discusses in detail the theory behind the Basic Skills of Wrestling. Although the tape set is focused on Greco-Roman and Freestyle examples, it is easy to see how the Basic Skills of Wrestling are transferable into the Folkstyle Wrestling practice room. The Video Syllabus is available through the Merchandise Department of USA Wrestling by calling (719) 598-8181 or from the online marketplace at TheMat.com. The first of the Basic Skills USA Wrestling has identified is the concept of proper stance. Stance is examined in detail in the Wrestling Video Syllabus. Most coaches are used to the simple concept of two unique types of stances: the square stance and the stagger stance. In each case the stance has specific advantages for its technical application in a wrestling match. The Video Syllabus, identifies basic principles of the two different stances and language that should be used in teaching stance to wrestlers. Further, the Basic Skill of stance is coupled with the idea of proper position, as the video details important concepts of hand and foot position for both offensive and defensive situations in a match. The second Basic Skill identified in the Video Syllabus is the key components of motion. In younger wrestlers motion drills are particularly important as wrestlers begin to learn how to move effectively on a wrestling mat. Again, the Syllabus is very helpful in using shared language and phrases that coaches should consistently use when instructing their athletes. Simple, thing like using the phrase "When your hands move, your feet move" will go a long way in reminding wrestlers the importance of proper motion. Changing Levels is the next Basic Skill examined in the USA Wrestling Video Syllabus. The Video Syllabus' first tape which focuses on freestyle examples is demonstrated in the practice room by Bruce Burnett, former USA Wrestling Head Freestyle coach and now the Head Coach for the Navy wrestling team. Burnett relates the important concepts of level change. Then, the Wrestling Syllabus shows live match examples of level change. John Smith noted for his ability to breakdown into a low-level stance quickly for his patented low-single has a great ability to change level. The fourth Basic Skill of Wrestling is Penetration. The Video Syllabus examines three different types of penetration steps: the drop step, the outside step, and the knee spin. The drop step is examined using live examples from international matches, such as Head Freestyle Coach for USA Wrestling, Kevin Jackson's, double-leg takedown. The outside step takedown is broken down in a similar manner, while Burnett uses key reinforcement phrases that should be used to help coaches advancing athletes with their skill. World Champion Chris Campbell often relied on outside step penetration for his takedowns. In detailing the knee spin technique, Burnett examines the concept of, "backside is best". Also, as a part of the examination of penetration, in the Syllabus is the concept of the double-knee drop. The double-knee drop is a technique that can be used off of an opponent's pressure. It is not a penetration step, so coaches need to understand how to teach the skill effectively. The double knee drop is a deep change of level designed to bring a wrestlers hips closer to his opponent without taking a step. In the example, the wrestler in red executes a double knee drop. In the examination of the fifth Basic Skill of Lifting, Burnett demonstrates several ways to approach teaching of the technique. Burnett focuses on the idea of cutting an "L" to flair an opponent to a takedown. In this example Zeke Jones lifts his opponent off of a head inside single-leg. The sixth Basic Skill of wrestling is the ability to sprawl. In the USA Wrestling Syllabus, Burnett focuses on the ingredients that make up a good sprawl. The strategy that is detailed in producing a sprawl for a "counter-offense" is an important asset for coaches and wrestlers to know. Simple ideas like circling to the bent leg side are important keys for a wrestler to better understand the concept of sprawling. Here, John Smith is countered by an opponent who executes the Basic Skill of sprawling. The next Basic Skill covered in the Wrestling Syllabus focuses on always giving a wrestler the ability to win the match. Often, when a wrestler falls behind in a match, he/she will need to execute a maneuver that will take his/her opponent to their back. The Basic Skill of the back step is designed to do just that. When wrestlers learn the ability to execute a back step successfully, a whole new level of technique is open to them. Coaches who are actively trying to advance technique will learn greatly from studying the potential uses of the back step. World Champion Bill Scherr executes a back step when hitting this arm throw for three points. The back arch, a complicated maneuver in wrestling, is another of the Basic Skills covered in the Wrestling Syllabus. A wrestler that can take his hips under his opponent's hips can score very big points and put an opponent in immediate danger. Burnett demonstrates how to slowly bring wrestlers along as they begin to learn the potential of the back arch. In this example Nate Carr throws his opponent by executing a back arch. The ninth Basic Skill is the ability to use a variety of grips. When coaches begin to detail moves they should have ability to show and properly use a variety of grips. In the Syllabus, USA Wrestling details grips such as: the knuckle grip, the handclasp, the butterfly lock, and the forearm hook. Each grip will help wrestlers in having a variety of locks to use with different techniques. The ability to change these locks quickly and cleanly is developed by paying attention to this basic skill in the practice room. The Basic Skill of Contact (Tie-Ups) is discussed at length in the Video Syllabus. USA Wrestling focuses on these contact positions to help wrestlers better understand what positions are most successful in scoring. Burnett goes through great detail on how to properly get to all of the basic tie-ups such as: the head tie, head and bicep, biceps tie, elbow tie, two on one, underhook, double underhook, wrist tie-up, and forearm hook. Wrestling and coaches will benefit from the detailed examination of the basic skill of contact. The eleventh Basic Skill of Setups is examined in the Video Syllabus. Having an organized language for the actions involved in setting up an opponent is one of the many benefits of practicing the Basic Skills of wrestling with a team. Coaches who consistently involve their wrestlers with terms used for these setups will help kids understand the actions better, so when they are involved in a m
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