Defensive Wrestling Techniques

You’ve probably heard the phrase that states the best defense is a good offense. That phrase rings true in the sport of wrestling, in which counters and defensive maneuvers can help win a match. If your defense is good enough, you’ll force your opponent into desperate situations and errors, turning their haste and ineffectiveness into instant offense for you. There are several defensive wrestling moves every wrestler should know in order to be better prepared for a match. Check out CoachUp’s handy tips on defensive wrestling moves and techniques, and take your newly found knowledge to the mat!


Your defensive wrestling position is extremely important and can affect the outcome of a match. Use your hands, arms, head, and waist to defend your position. Try to effectively use your hands to fight off any attack, pushing back any body part that comes your way by controlling one or both of the opponent’s hands via the wrists. Use your head to block an opponent trying to tie up with you. Keep your hips back when in your stance, this will allow you a better range of motion and a suitable solution when a rapid reaction is needed. Work on strengthening your core muscles so that you will have a more stable wrestling stance.


Sprawling is an effective defense against opponents trying to go for a leg take-down. The first thing you should do when an opponent shoots at you is to drive your legs back as far as possible. You should land on the upper back of your opponent and drive your hips down. If your opponent grabs one or both of your legs before you can get away, keep driving your hips down, this cannot be said enough. Your opponent will begin to flatten out and loosen his grip. If that is the case, you can turn your defensive position into an offensive one by getting behind your opponent. Sprawling is an athletic move and one of the best defensive wrestling maneuvers you can learn to defend from leg attacks.

SIDE ROLL When your opponent has a hold of you from above, a good way to escape or counter is the side roll. Grab your opponent’s wrist and pull it across your waist. Use your other arm to reach out and secure your opponent’s arm above the elbow. Pull your opponent’s arm and turn your body so that your he or she loses balance and lands next to you. This move is best when it’s a surprise, so use it with caution. Your opponent might be expecting it if you try it right at the referee’s whistle, a good wrestler will make sure they’re not predictable.

(Related: Read about wrestling for beginners here.)

Huddle Up

Try asking your wrestling coach for more advanced defensive wrestling techniques and counter moves. If you can outsmart your opponents on defense, you’ll have an awesome advantage and be able to win more matches. However, if you’re still struggling with these moves or can’t find enough one-on-one time with your school coach, consider booking one of CoachUp’s private trainers to help you out. Our team has won many, many matches in the ring and they’d love nothing more than to pass some of that knowledge down to you as well. What are you waiting for?

Be prepared for the biggest moments by mastering the small ones off the mat. 

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  1. Looking for a coach for my 13 and 11 Year old sons in OKC . Sidney and Ethan iiland they have both been in MMA for some years.

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