High School Wrestling Moves for Beginners

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Wrestling at all levels involves many moves designed to put you in control with the ultimate goal of outpointing or pinning your opponent for a victory. For beginner high school wrestlers new to the sport, instead of trying to learn all of them at once, start with a few basic moves. After you’ve perfected your technique, gradually add more moves to your arsenal.

How to Stand

Two basic stances are used in wrestling -- the square and staggered stance. In the square stance, your feet are parallel with each other and your weight is evenly distributed on both feet. In the staggered stance one foot is ahead of the other and more weight is on the front foot. With both stances your feet are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, your knees and hips are bent and you lower your body to lower your center of gravity. Lean forward with your chest over your knees and jut your butt backward. Bend your elbows, keep them close to your torso and hold your hands in front of your body. Keep your back slightly rounded, head up and eyes focused on your opponent.

Penetrating Shot

A must-know move is how to penetrate through your opponent's defenses, namely their hands and arms. To do this, start in a staggered stance, lower your body toward the mat, shift your weight onto your back foot and take a step forward between your opponent's legs with your lead foot. Roll forward over the toes of your lead foot and land on your lead knee. Bring you back foot up and plant it firmly on the mat as your reach forward to grab one or both legs of your opponent.

Lift Your Opponent

Lifting is a basic move typically used in an attempted takedown. Start by standing to the side or behind your opponent with your hips squarely beneath your shoulders. Wrap your arms around his waist and lock your hands. Pull your opponent into your body and lower your hips lower than his. While keeping your opponent tight against your body, push through your legs, drive your hips forward into your opponent and straighten your legs to lift him off the mat. Maintain control and safely lower him to the mat for the takedown. Avoid throwing or slamming your opponent to the mat because this is illegal.

Know How to Pin

The half nelson is one of the most common pinning moves. When your opponent is facedown on the mat, slide either your right arm under his right armpit or your left arm under his left armpit. Put the palm of your hand on the back of his head, not his neck. While pushing on the back of his head, lift his arm up with your arm and move your body to the side of his body. For example, if you put your right arm under his arm and your right hand on his head, move to your right as you lift his arm. Slowly walk your feet forward and push into him with your upper body to roll him over for the pin.

Learn to Escape

The escape is an essential move to take you from the bottom starting position, on your hands and knees with your opponent on top, to a standing position. Begin by moving your foot to the side, away from your opponent. For example, if your opponent is on your left holding you, move your right foot to the right. Simultaneously lift your right knee, plant your right foot on the mat, lean back into your opponent and push through your right foot to get up from the mat. Grab and pull on the wrist that's around your waist as you quickly pivot and turn to escape his hold.