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The Anatomy of a Great Wrestling Shot

The Anatomy of a Great Wrestling Shot


A good wrestling shot, including a solid penetration, is a must know for any grappler.

The ability to enter int to a takedown scenario efficiently without getting caught in a bad position or giving up precious position is paramount. Hesitation can also be a detriment to your shot, as it will slow your momentum and leave you stuck in the middle of an exchange. If you’re inexperienced with takedowns, it’s important to break down the anatomy of the shot. This will keep you safe from injury and also allow you to be more successful when entering a combat scenario from the feet.

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There’s lots to consider. Our stance, the position of our body, posture, lowering our level. Let’s take it slow and focus on the basics. Here’s a great video from Alec Baulding that breaks down critical elements of the wrestling shot in a simple, easy to follow sequence. Here, he covers all of the main ingredients to a successful shot to help us become more successful with our takedown game and steer us clear of injury. Have a look!

Baulding begins with a common problem. Many inexperienced combat athletes perform their shot in a way that send their weight and momentum directly in to the floor instead of driving through their opponent’s. This leads to bad positions, scrambles, and injury. Done properly a wrestling shot is very safe and very efficient. Baulding reminds us that efficiency is key no matter the scenario. Keep this in mind. 

Baulding also recommends that we work both sides, especially our weak side to bring up our proficiency with eh wrestling shot. If you’re a beginner, start with what feels good and build from there!

Beginning with the stance, Baulding recommends we place our feet somewhere in the ballpark of shoulder or hip width apart. A stance that’s too wide provides less power, and a stance with feet that are placed too closely together doesn’t lend enough stability to our structure. As Baulding staggers his stance he makes sure to keep this theme present. Think about the posture of a sprinter.

Baulding advises us to think of a squat when lowering our level. He does not bend at the waist at all. He simply drops his hips down and keeps his back nice and straight. Be careful not to lean back here, as this will off balance you and make you vulnerable to any force that might be coming your way. Lead forward in to your lead leg to cause your momentum to begin to take over and propel you forward. As Baulding’s heel begins to rise from the floor, his puts his front knee down and then uses his hands to catch himself.

As his knee makes contact with the floor, Baulding opens his body and projects his hips forward. This is followed by the planting of the trailing leg on to the mat. As he begins to rise, he loads his weight to the trailing leg and then springs up away from it, returning to his feet. 

Notice Baulding’s posture throughout his movements. I find this is one of the most difficult things to keep in mind as you progress through the shot and look to secure the takedown. As our posture breaks down through the progression, our hopes of a successful takedown begin to diminish. Always make your posture an important focal point of your shot. 

Another important thing to keep in mind; you must commit. A good wrestling shot requires that you commit yourself to the movements and continue moving forward. If you run out of steam or hesitate during your shot, it will be incredibly difficult to finish, and you may sabotage yourself.

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This is a great place to start. Work through the basics of the shot on your own, and then add a partner to the mix when you’re ready!

In this next installment, Baulding covers the basics of a penetration step, and he adds another body to the instruction so we can understand how everything works when it's all put together. Have a look!

First, Baulding gives us a review of the shot. Working through the same details from the previous video. He then adds his partner and begins by talking about distance. Any takedown will require us to close the distance between ourselves and our partner. As Baulding explains, this is why we see wrestlers reaching to touch their opponents’ heads, shoulders, etc. This is an indicator of how much distance must be closed in order to perform a takedown. WE must be at least within arms reach to begin a takedown sequence. 

Using the same methods of the shot as in the previous video, Baulding now adds a small step forward to being his penetration step. Baulding aims to step deep between his partners legs, as this will close the gap and put him in great position to continue with the shot. AS he achieves that “sweet spot” position, he cups the back of his partners knees. HE then loads that trailing leg and begins to spring away from it, completing the takedown.

Baulding demonstrates how important it is to keep the hips engaged here. As he enters for the shot, he brings his hips tight to his partner. This prevents the sprawl and keeps Baulding very strong in the position, as he is under his partners center of gravity. Failing to keep the hips involved and close will cause us to bend at the waist and make the sprawl a much easier task for our opponents. 

So, there you have it. The anatomy of a great wrestling shot, coupled with some great pointers on the penetration step. There’s a lot here, but it’s broken down into very digestible sections. All the key players for a successful shot are contained here. This is great instruction from Baulding on an incredibly important topic. Sure-up your shot and enjoy more success from the feet. Good luck!

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