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How to use takedown counter drills to your advantage

This is an excerpt from Wrestling Drill Book-2nd Edition, The by William Welker.

View more wrestling drills in
The Wrestling Drill Book, 2nd Edition.

Takedown Counter Drills

The premise for takedown counter drills is to stop your opponent's initial attack and then create a counterattack in which you score. This is best accomplished by keeping in good position with a proper center-of-gravity (hip) location. In other words, do not allow your opponent to feel comfortable in the neutral position when he attempts takedown maneuvers.

Keep in mind that the fundamentals must be taught first, including conventional sprawling drills, proper crossface techniques and hip-positioning drills, and whizzer-hip counter drills to double-leg attacks. Also, review all single-leg counter maneuvers when the attack wrestler has control of the leg on or off the mat. Wrestlers must master these basic drills before they learn the more advanced takedown counter drills.

The following drill sequence is set up to demonstrate the first line of defense drills, using the hands to prevent your opponent from penetrating to the legs. The second line of defense drills will illustrate techniques used when the opponent is able to penetrate to the legs or body by maneuvering through the first line of defense.

Snap-Down Redirect


W1 controls W2's head with a collar tie with his right arm. W1 also establishes wrist control with his left hand and arm (a).


As W2 begins his attempt to penetrate W1, W1 snaps his head and elbows to the mat while sprawling back. Pressing his chest on W2's back, W1 drives W2's head to the mat, blocking W2's right arm (b). Finally, W1 spins around W2 for the takedown (c).

Coaching Point

When the wrestlers sprawl, stress the importance of sprawling on the toes and placing pressure on the opponent's back before spinning around.

Common Error

A common mistake is the attacker dropping to his knees rather than staying on his toes when snapping the opponent down.

Read more from The Wrestling Drill Book, 2nd Edition by William Welker.

More Excerpts From Wrestling Drill Book 2nd Edition