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How to Scout an Opponent in Wrestling

At higher levels of wrestling, it can be beneficial to scout an opponent before you wrestle him. Generally speaking, scouting an opponent means watching him wrestle so you can analyze his techniques and devise a strategy against him for a future match. This is especially important when you know you are going to wrestling an opponent multiple times within a season, or when you know you will meet a specific wrestler in an upcoming tournament. Below you will find information on what to look for when scouting an opponent. With the right information, you will be able to create your own match-winning strategy.

Wrestle Your Match

Before you learn how to effectively scout an opponent, there is one thing you must first understand: You should never completely change your style of wrestling against any opponent. Rather, you should adapt your style so you can play to your strengths and expose your opponent’s weaknesses. When scouting an opponent, think about the techniques and strategies you are already familiar with that will allow you to beat him.

Know the Positions

When watching an opponent, first take note of the positions he wrestles well in — the neutral, top, or bottom position. Most successful wrestlers have specific positions in which they are particularly strong, so limiting the time you spend in them will increase your chances of winning.

Also, some wrestlers are comfortable wrestling in specific, technique-oriented positions. Take note of these, as well. For instance, you may notice that an opponent likes to allow his opponents to shoot a single-leg takedown on his left leg because it allows him to get into a whizzer position, in which he is particularly strong. Knowing this detail can keep you from falling into his trap.

Hot Tip: Get the Video

Watching an opponent wrestle can be helpful, but getting video of him can prove to be invaluable. If it is within the rules of your state and league, record an opponent on video so you can comfortably breakdown the footage at your convenience. You can also check to see if your opponent has any matches uploaded to the internet.

Lastly, it’s important to note which positions your opponent is weak in and tries to avoid. Essentially, you want to wrestle in the positions that will increase your chances of winning, so knowing his weakest position will prove advantageous for you. For example, maybe you notice that this wrestler struggles to escape from the bottom position. In this case, choosing to be in the top position when you wrestle him can increase your chances of winning.

Know the Techniques

Along with knowing the positions an opponent is strong in, it’s also critical to know the techniques he uses effectively. This will allow you to devise counter-attacks against his offense, or it will allow you to simply stay away from these techniques altogether.

It is crucial that you pay close attention to detail when examining your opponent’s techniques. Here are a few things you should be looking for:

  • Whether he ties up before he shoots in the neutral position
  • How he sets up his takedowns
  • Which leg(s) he shoots for
  • What side he lines up on in the top position
  • What breakdowns he uses from the top position

These are just a few of the things you should be looking for. Be sure to watch closely and learn as much as you can about him. Also, don’t forget to take note of what techniques are effective against him. For example, you may notice that your future opponent leans too far forward in his stance, and an opponent took advantage of this by snapping his head down to break his position. Noting this will allow you to do the same in the future.

Hot Tip: Homerun Moves

When taking note of the techniques an opponent uses, you should pay special attention to his homerun moves. Being aware of the go-to maneuvers your opponent will try to use will allow you to stay away from them.

Recognize Patterns

Most wrestlers, whether they know it or not, show certain patterns in their movements or actions when they wrestle. It is important to recognize these patterns or technical cues so you can read him, perhaps even being able to predict his actions.

Again, you must pay very close attention because recognizing certain movements or habits requires a tremendous eye for detail. For example, an opponent may move his feet in a certain pattern that will allow you to shoot when he exposes a leg. He may also fake twice before actually attempting to shoot a takedown. Recognize and take note of any patterns or unique mannerisms you see, so you can use them to your advantage.

Strategize to Win

Scouting an opponent isn’t difficult if you know what to look for. When analyzing and recording an opponent’s wrestling antics, remember that it’s just as crucial to devise a strategy you can use to beat him. To do this you must reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses, and then prepare a game plan of what you will need to do to win. If you are able to scout an opponent effectively, you will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with. Good luck!

Sooner or later, you'll need to scout an opponent to learn how he wrestles. This guide will teach you the basics of scouting, so you can create a match-winning strategy.
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