West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker, National Wrestling Hall of Famer
and Rick Welker

. . . on Specialized Wrestling Workouts -- Part One

You will sometimes want to incorporate "specialist wrestling workouts" that add variation to the traditional wrestling session, and also enhance skill development. In part one, chain wrestling and situation wrestling are discussed in detail.

Chain Wrestling

Too often in contemporary scholastic matches the bottom wrestler will attempt to escape or reverse his opponent by using only one or two moves. If they don't work, his opponent ultimately ends up riding him. We seem to have forgotten a lost art-chain wrestling, a fast-paced bottom maneuver and top counter-maneuver wrestling activity. The most common chain wrestling skills include the following multiple moves:

Standard Chain Wrestling Workout

Step 1 Sit-out to turn-in (bottom wrestler)
       Follow sit-out to turn-in (top wrestler)
Step 2 Sit-out to turn-out (bottom wrestler)
       Follow sit-out to turn-out (top wrestler)
Step 3 Switch (bottom wrestler)
       Reswitch (top wrestler)
Step 4 Side roll (bottom wrestler)
       Re-side roll (top wrestler)
Step 5 Granby roll (bottom wrestler)
       Granby roll follow-through on head (top wrestler)
Step 6 Stand-up (bottom wrestler)
       Back heel trip to mat (top wrestler)

Wrestlers repeat this chain wrestling process as many times as instructed by the coach (usually three to ?ve cycles) with wrestler W1 on the bottom. Then wrestler W2 would assume the bottom position, repeating the cycle the same number of times.

Of course, you may develop variations to this chain wrestling format to suit your particular mat wrestling concerns. No matter how you plan your chain wrestling activity, the key purpose of the workout is to train the bottom wrestler not to stop after one or two moves.

Another bene?t of chain wrestling is that it teaches the top wrestler how to follow moves performed by the bottom wrestler. Likewise, it is a superb conditioning tool for workout sessions. You may even want to create a practice competition out of chain wrestling, timing the wrestlers to see which pair is quickest in completing the cycles.

In recent decades, coaches have placed so much emphasis on takedowns that many have ignored the importance of moving on the bottom. Chain wrestling is a snappy workout activity that doesn't take much practice time and leads to improved mat wrestling.

Situation Wrestling

Situation wrestling is usually incorporated during the season. It is much like a regular workout session with one exception: the wrestlers are placed in various wrestling positions and begin wrestling from that point. As with typical wrestling workouts, the coach should periodically stop the wrestlers to demonstrate what they are doing wrong.

There is a twofold purpose for including situation wrestling in daily practice sessions. First, you can use the strategy to work on new moves and to demonstrate how they should be performed during real wrestling situations.

The second rationale for adding situation wrestling to practice plans involves the scouting phase of coaching. While scouting rival teams, the coach often observes certain moves that members of these squads use the most to score points. Wisely, the coach will place his wrestlers in these various move situations, having them counter the maneuvers in preparation for an upcoming dual meet or tournament. This wrestling strategy has been very successful over the years.

Let's now consider two examples of situation wrestling-one for perfecting new moves and the other to prepare for competition.

Drilling a New Move

The coach has just completed demonstrating the standing suicide switch reversal maneuver. At this point, the wrestlers perform the maneuver in the following manner:

1 After standing up, the bottom wrestler fakes a standing switch, turning from one side to the other.

2 Then the bottom wrestler drops forward to the mat head first.

3 Finally, just before the bottom wrestler's head hits the mat, he executes a quick hip-heist switch, scoring the reversal.

After the wrestlers passively perform the move, the coach then places the wrestlers in the standing position and blows the whistle. With the top wrestler resisting fully, the bottom wrestler is given 15 seconds to complete the standing suicide switch. This is an all-out burst of wrestling effort by both wrestlers, with the coach periodically stopping the action to correct mistakes.

Drilling for Competition

When scouting the next dual meet opponent, the coach learns that the majority of wrestlers are very pro?cient at scoring double-leg takedowns.

At practices leading up to the meet, the coach places the wrestlers in the neutral position. He instructs the attacking team members to deeply penetrate the opponents' defense, clamping their hands around the knees.

On the whistle, the wrestlers defend themselves from the double-leg take-down counter, performing the following steps:

Step 1 Crossface and sprawl
Step 2 Whizzer and hip into opponent with whipping action
Step 3 Force head down with free hand and push away

This process continues until all practice partners have demonstrated the ability to properly counter the double-leg takedown.

Situation wrestling will greatly enhance the skill level of all team members. Do not fail to make it part of your workout repertoire.

In part two, you will be exposed to "round-robin wrestling" and "blindfold wrestling" and how they benefit the participants.

Wrestling Words of Wisdom
"He who has learned to obey will know how to command."
- Solon

(Excerpt from The Wrestling Drill Book, 2E by Bill Welker. It can be purchased at www.humankinetics.com or www.amazon.com.)

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