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The Shot Penetration Drill for Wrestling

High school wrestler performs a double-leg takedownLeg attacks are one of the most important aspects of folkstyle and freestyle wrestling. All matches start with both wrestlers in the neutral position, which means that all wrestlers must be well-versed in the art of the takedown. For this reason, learning how to effectively penetrate an opponent’s defense so you can get to his legs is extremely critical as a beginning wrestler.

Although this specific drill is for beginning wrestlers, you should be familiar and comfortable with the fundamentals of the penetration step. If you need to learn the penetration step or refresh your technique, check out iSport’s guide, “How to Shoot in Wrestling” in the Related Guides section at the right of this page. Otherwise, if you think you think you are ready to start perfecting your shot, read on.

1. Grab a Partner

You will need a partner for this drill. The general size and weight of your partner isn’t critical for this drill, so don’t worry if you can’t find someone your exact weight.

To start the drill, have your partner stand with his feet about shoulder-width apart. You always want to be close enough to touch an opponent when you shoot, so practice this good habit by starting within reach of your partner. While facing him, get into your wrestling stance while holding your hands behind your back.

2. Penetration Step

Take an inside penetration step towards your partner. That is, take a step towards the center space between your partner’s feet. Try to take a deep enough step that your foot and his two feet are aligned. When you complete the penetration step, drop to the knee of your lead leg. Your knee should be placed evenly between your partner’s feet, or slightly behind them.

During the penetration step, it is extremely critical to maintain good body position. Your head should be positioned on the same side of your partner’s body as your trail leg. For example, if you used your left leg to take your penetration step, your right leg is your trail leg. So, your head should be positioned on the right side of your partner’s body (from your view).

Keep your head up and use it to push against your partner’s body, near his hip. Also, make sure your upper body is in good position by keeping your chest up (not hunched over) and in contact with your partner’s thighs.

3. Step Up & Angle

Bring your trail leg forward and to the outside of your partner’s body. Your foot should be in line with the knee of your lead leg, or slightly behind it. As your foot lands, angled slightly away from your partner, the bend of the knee should be slightly greater than 90 degrees.

Now, shift your weight to the trail leg and drive off of this leg into your partner. As you do this, there are some key things you need to do with your body:

  • Turn your body: As you push off of your trail leg, turn your body towards your partner so that your shoulders and hips are perpendicular to his body. This helps you generate enough force to drive through your partner, and mimics the position you need to be in to effectively finish a double-leg takedown.
  • Step up: Step up with your lead leg (the leg you used to shoot with). As you push off of your trail leg, step to the outside of your partner’s foot that is furthest away from you. For example, if you used your left leg to shoot with, step up with this leg and to the outside of your partner’s right foot. If your body is angled correctly against his, the toe of this foot will be in line with his shoulders.

4. Drive

Once you are on your feet, continue to drive into your partner. Drive your partner 3-5 feet away from where he originally started. Take large, “shuffle” steps without crossing your feet and use your shoulders to push your partner’s hips. As you drive, keep your head up and use your head to push against the side of your partner’s body, just above his hip. Also, keep your knees bent and squat slightly to generate my power as you drive.

Repeat this until you have completed 20-25 shots on your partner. Then, you can switch and allow your partner to practice his shots.

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect!

Learning the proper way to shoot is essential for success in freestyle and folkstyle wrestling, where leg attacks are the most common ways to take a partner down. Aside from what you may think, at higher levels of wrestling the fundamentals are the most critical aspects. This is why the shot penetration drill is so beneficial for beginning wrestlers. By doing this drill, you will learn the proper position that your body needs to be in for several styles of takedowns, including the double-leg takedown and the high crotch. Make sure you work this drill into your daily practice routine, even if you just use it as a basic warm-up drill. Now get out and get drilling!

Staying in good position as you shoot on an opponent is critical for success at all levels of wrestling. This guide will teach you a way to drill basic shot positioning.
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