How To Teach Takedown Setups

One of the most popular questions I get from coaches is…  

“what setups to focus on first with wrestlers?”

I have to be honest, this changed over the years for me.  It’s no wonder coaches have questions about teaching the neutral position… it’s easily the toughest position to get wrestlers to master.

Top position is by far the easiest, the key there is to teach technique and then develop tenacity.  Bottom definitely has its set of difficulties, but is nowhere near as complex as neutral.

If you would have asked me this question
straight out of college I would have told you…

“Get them good at control ties”  and my logic would have been “they need to be able to get ahold of opponents in order to force their style and even the most non-athletic wrestler can use them.”

Although this may be true as wrestlers develop, gain experience and climb the ranks…

In the developmental stages I don’t believe it to be true and after years fiddling with different teaching methods, I undoubtedly had the most success with the method I’m about to cover.

First, I want to define the three categories of setups within the system I have developed.  

3 Types of Setups

Open Setups

I want to be clear here…  When I say open setup I don’t mean that their is no contact.  Wrestlers should learn to go in and out of ties and this process should be physical.  They should be moving their feet, faking ties and faking shots.

Watch this video for a more detailed breakdown on Open Setups:

Loose Control Ties

Examples of loose control ties are; Inside Ties, Collar Ties, Elbow Control and more

Watch this video for a detailed breakdown on the Inside Tie

Control Ties

Tieups that are considered control ties are Underhooks, Front Headlocks and Russian 2-on-1’s.

 Watch this video for a detailed breakdown on the Russian 2-on-1:

When working with developing wrestlers that are trying to master shots and finishes it is not necessary to over complicate the tieup/setup process.

With this in mind, I prefer to focus heavily on using open setups.  This allows wrestlers to focus on the actual shot and finishes combined with developing the habits of moving, faking shots, faking ties.  All along learning to stalk, close the gap safely and snap out of ties.

Not to say that loose control ties and control ties shouldn’t be introduced… Especially to individuals that may have special tactical needs. When making these decision, you should take into consideration their weight class, how old they are, and the experience level of the athletes they will be facing.

Techniques and strategies for clearing all tie ups should also be covered soon as well, especially if you are dealing with high school athletes, where they might be facing wrestlers that use a variety of tieups effectively.

In conclusion, I like to start out having developing wrestlers focus on executing shots and finishes from open ties.  Setting opponents up from the open is going to develop crucial movement skills and allow them to focus on the techniques and positions needed to lay the foundation of solid leg attacks.  After the penetration step and positioning start coming together then we move on to working more ties.

I would love to hear your opinion on what setups you think developing wrestlers need to focus on as well as any success or failure stories you might have.  Please post any feedback below.

-Coach Daryl Weber



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