How to Get Lighter on Your Feet for Wrestling
Contrary to appearances, success on the wrestling mat doesn't all depend on strength and power. Speed, agility, quick reflexes and balance are all integral components in wrestling. They need to be practiced each and every time you step onto the mat in the wrestling room. Combining individual speed and agility drills with dynamic partner drills will make you quicker and lighter on your feet for your next tournament.
Jump rope at the beginning and end of every wrestling training session. Jump rope improves coordination, agility, speed and body awareness.
Incorporate ladder drills into your training, aiming for quick pickups with your feet to improve fast-twitch responses. These skills translate well to sprawling drills, for which you quickly shift your hips back to avoid being taken down. To sprawl faster, focus on picking your feet up before you shift your hips back and bring your weight down on top of your opponent.
Shadow wrestle to gain comfort with attacking, defending and moving around an imaginary opponent. Boxers aren't the only athletes who can benefit from shadow training. If you want to get faster, it's all about repetition. Practice changing positions quickly, from shooting to sprawling, to get comfortable in every scenario.
Perform line hops to develop quick feet and power in your lower body. Stand behind a line and practice hopping forward and backward over the line as fast as you can. Repeat the drill by standing parallel to the line and hopping side to side. Each rep should last one minute.
Practice get-ups as quickly as you can. Start out laying on your back on the mat. When your coach yells "go," roll over and explode to your feet, then sprint forward about 20 yards before laying back down for the next repetition.
Always incorporate live wrestling drills against a partner into your training sessions. All of your speed, agility and quickness won't mean anything if you can't defend takedowns or perform takedowns of your own against an opponent.
You don't have to purchase equipment such as jump ropes, agility ladders and agility cones to get light on your feet. Most agility drills can be improvised. In wrestling, the only tool you use to defeat your opponent is your own body. The more comfortable you get moving your body quickly to any position, the more comfortable you'll feel in a live wrestling match.
Wrestling injuries can range from minor scrapes, bruises and strains to ligament tears and infections. Maintain good hygiene and keep your body clean before and after wrestling practice to minimize the risk of catching a bacterial infection. If you feel pain in any of your ligaments, take rest and apply ice to the affected area. Stretching regularly and strengthening your lower-body muscles can help minimize your risk of injury.
Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.