How to Improve Your Wrestling Takedowns

Freestyle wrestlers in action

Takedowns are an integral part of wrestling technique. Although the term refers to a specific scoring condition, "improving your takedowns" means working on a variety of moves you can use to score those two points. Improving your takedowns happens in two different arenas-- during practice and in live competition. What you do in both areas will affect how effective your takedowns become.

During Practice

Improve your cardiovascular condition by running. Stand-up wrestling while setting up for a takedown is one of the most cardiovascularly demanding parts of the sport. If you're less fatigued than your opponent at this stage, you'll have an advantage.

Work on your reaction time by doing start-and-stop drills, live practice and shuttle runs. When performing takedowns, he who moves first often wins the point.

Focus on one or two takedown combinations and practice them incessantly. This will train your muscle memory and build your confidence much more than learning and practicing a wide array of takedown options. Move on to new techniques once you can apply what you already know without thought or hesitation.

Practice takedown wrestling with a live partner your size. In takedown wrestling, action stops as soon as one wrestler scores a takedown. You then go back to the center of the ring and do it again. This intense drilling is one of the best things you can do to build your takedown skill.

During Competition

Size up your opponent for a few seconds before attempting your takedown. Watch his movement, and make your attack when he's in the middle of a transition or otherwise off- balance.

Slap at your opponent's head or face in the half-second before you shoot for your takedown. Don't make actual contact as this is illegal and risks penalty points. However, fast motion towards his face can make him flinch backwards, exposing more of his lower body for your takedown.

Move explosively into your takedown attempt, hitting with all the sudden force you can manage. A slow or hesitant takedown is easy to counter. A fast and intense takedown is usually over before your opponent realizes it began.

Keep trying until the referee gives you points. Many wrestlers lose a takedown because they stop pushing prematurely. Sometimes this is because they believe they can't finish the move. At other times, they think they have it cold but the referee has yet to call the point. In either case, keeping the pressure on until points are called is the best way to finish your takedown successfully.


There are many more aspects to improving your wrestling takedowns. It's a good idea to talk with your coach specifically about your personal takedown weaknesses and what techniques might work best for your frame, weight and style.


Avoid being penalized for an illegal hold by studying the regulations for holds, technical violations and unnecessary roughness that pertain to your wrestling league.