Alec Wrestling

The One Thing Every Wrestler Must Learn

Have you ever been wrestling someone and feel like they know everything you are about to do? Or maybe as a parent you sit in the stands watching your wrestler appear helpless on the mat. Every attack they go after their opponent is ready for them…

As a wrestler it feels like they can see your attacks from a mile away.

The truth is they can and it’s one of the greatest advantages you can have as a wrestler.

That advantage is anticipation!

When you can anticipate what wrestlers are going to do it makes competing feel almost effortless. Now anticipating can be can be via your sight but more importantly if can come from a feel.

I began to hear about this from my first high school coach, Scott Rohrer, former wrestler at Minnesota. Frustration constantly poured into me when wrestling with him because it felt like I had zero chance to even get to my attacks. Much less ever dreaming of scoring on him…

This is when the conversation began that if I wanted to become a high level wrestler compete at the national level or college level I had to start learning to anticipate what was happening during the match.

Seemed Impossible

I will be honest the thought about being a step ahead of every opponent seemed impossible. It’s one thing to be able to watch films on kids that you compete against during the season. You can start to break down some of their habits and tendencies but what about when you travel to national tournaments?

You might catch a glimpse of kids wrestling during the tournament but nothing substantial. The real anticipation needs to happen during the match!

It’s kinda like the game of chess. You are always looking to be one step ahead. If you can be just one step ahead that generally translates in wins. That can be one point victories or larger ones like tech falls or pins.

Anticipation Through Sight

When I first started using this I was trying to do everything through my vision. I was constantly trying to watch what their feet, hands or hips were doing while we wrestled…

This made wrestling even harder!

I knew there was no way coach was just watching what I was doing and then scoring. Instead through more conversations and practice I realized he was like a computer constantly analyzing everything movement or reaction I was doing.

I was trying to sit back, watching and waiting for them to get out of position and then jump at my attacks. If you have been around wrestling it makes it very difficult to score points. The points that you do score are extremely hard fought…

The wrestlers I was watching at the highest level made their attacks look so methodical.

What my coach told me was one of the most profound statements helping me understand scoring, offense, attacks and being a step ahead…

He began to tell me that every movement he was making was calculated. Seems obvious at first but I realized there were levels to this…

Little things as small as him reaching a back hand to touch my shoulder was calculated? Huh? Made no sense at the time…

But when he reached he was downloading what I was doing. Did I reach back with my lead hand or maybe try to attack his wrist. Was I circling left or right or maybe try to pressure forward. Did I try to get to my own attacks…

All this was very strategic and there were about 7 of these little “step ups” he was within a matter of seconds just watching taking in all the information in order to get to his attacks.

Once he would reach, push, pull, level change or a million other things he knew what my reactions would be. He could now anticipate at a very high percentage what I was going to do. Then allowing him to dive into his arsenal of attacks and pick me apart…

And he continued to pick me apart for 3 straight years!

How To Start Learning

The most frustrating thing as a coach now are wrestlers overlooking drilling, especially on basic positions and drills. Basic drilling is to help you understand concepts and positions…

So in order to start learning anticipation using your vision it happens during your drilling. Can you move your feet all while at the same time downloading information about your partners reactions.

If you have no feel during your drilling or it’s all over the place. Chances are it’s going to look even worse trying to do all this during your live wrestling.

There are progressions and it’s important to not undervalue the purpose of your drilling!

Anticipation Through Feel 

The most elite wrestlers can anticipate your movements through feel. It’s kinda like you can put a blindfold on them and they still know everything that is about to happen.

You can both be in your ties and you go to shoot your single or high-crotch and that hand shoots down to down block your shot. All while you’re scratching your head about how the hell they knew your shot was coming…

Great wrestlers have the feel when their opponents head drops to level change to get to their attacks…

They can feel where their opponent wants to take their pressure and use it against them.

The hardest part about all this is getting a young wrestler to understand the importance and power of anticipating opponents. Most young kids wanna learn the next big “Moves”, they wanna make the highlight reel…

Drilling positions and learning anticipation is not sexy but it’s a high level art.

Again it all starts in your drilling. Are you able to slow things down to understand and feel what’s happening versus guessing or even worse waiting until opponents are already in on their attacks. Then you are stuck defending attacks your entire wrestling career.

It’s a huge reason why I believe we teach so much of our wrestling backwards.

For example you ask wrestlers there lines of defense and they will rattle off 1.)Head 2.)Hands3.)HIps…

And the first thing we teach on shot defense is a sprawl. Let’s start teaching wrestlers to prevent people from getting in on our legs. All lines of defense are important but what if we were able to cut in half the ability people from even getting to their attacks wouldn’t that be powerful?

Then even better when our initial shot defense gets better now we can get to our re-attacks…

And if you have high level re-attacks you tend to dominate kids around the country.

Wrestlers Start Today

Wrestlers start today putting more value on your drilling. Soft drilling and hard drilling. Do not overlook your positions…

Learn to get a feel on anticipating your opponent and start dominating kids!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT UNDERGROUND PERFORMANCE WRESTLING PROGRAM!

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