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How to outslow your opponents

A lesson on how to outslow your opponent.

Sound counter productive?  Read on then.

“I’ll just use my quickness on you,” said the collegiate stud preparing to wrestle my aging, partiallly-crippled assistant coach with bad knees and an arm that didn’t straighten all the way.

“Well, I’ll just outslow you then,” my assistant replied, shortly before handing the college stud a humbling beat-down.

Tis not always about the faster, nor the stronger.  Sometimes there are *other* factors at hand.

Such was the case for Brian (name included to protect the guilty).  

Brian wasn’t gifted with an overabundance of talent…

  • Wasn’t particularly quick…
  • Nor strong…
  • And didn’t do anything “naturally” (You always hear about those kids who are naturals.  Brian was NOT one of them).

What he lacked in athletic ability, he made up for in perseverance.

Every time I opened my doors, he was here.
Camps, clubs, personal training, you name it.

One attribute I picked up through three decades of training athletes was being able to quickly assess what any particular athlete’s shortest path for success is.  With Brian, I knew he was likely to win most of his matches on the mat.

For him, I had a special series in mind….

one that has been around a long time but is seldom used, for reasons I’ll circle back to shortly.

Brian developed this one series, paying special attention to every precise detail

I could tell he had mastered it when he slapped it on me one day in practice and I couldn’t get out of it!

This series is like many others….

The finer points make or break the whole thing.

That’s why this series isn’t widely utilized, even though, done right, it is a complete game changer.  You can lock up top level athletes with it and they can’t get out – no matter how strong or skilled they are.

But miss just one precise detail and its just another move – and won’t work on average athletes, let alone top athletes. 

Most wrestlers “know” this series – but can’t execute it for this reason.

This one series nearly single handedly punched Brian's ticket to the state tournament.

When he was finished with his career, Brian had achieved high status in his wrestling-rich school – he was his school's all-time near fall leader (a title he held until another wrestler from his school visited me.)

One of the biggest problems with most camps is, they aren’t really about teaching – they are about showing off (and collecting your $).

A clinician comes out, shows his favorite moves, then leaves.

Next session, new clinician, same routine.

They could show you the Worlds Most Magical Move – it won’t matter because the devil is in the details – and it takes repetition to master anything worth learning – as well as a dedicated trainer helping you master every precise detail.

This powerful, game-changing series will be taught this summer and you will have ample opportunity to master it (anything worth teaching is worth mastering, meaning you never see anything just once.  You drill it to precision.)

Your goal, after all, is always to achieve Phase Five.


PS:  Want to truly excel using my powerful system?  Summer Camp is where it all happens.

PPS:  Remember this lesson – you never know when you will need to outslow your opponent.

New Rules!

The NCAA wrestling rules committee has passed sweeping changes to the sport – and if the NCAA playing rules committee accepts them, they will be implemented next year.

Let’s take a look at these now:

The 3 point takedown.    This rule would place more value on the takedown while encouraging action (hopefully).

Hand-touch takedown is out.  Previously, a wrestler getting behind their opponent and one hand touched the mat = takedown.  This rule would require a higher level of control for the takedown.

Near-fall 3 is back.  Get a 3-count, get 3 near fall points.

No riding time point unless there is a near fall turn.  Anything to keep athletes from just riding from top with no attempt to turn.

The main focus for the committee was to fix 4 things that are on the decrease in collegiate wrestling.   


  • Takedowns
  • Near falls
  • Tech falls
  • Action
  • TV Ratings dropping faster than an indicted politician’s poll numbers

In short, in an era with incredible stars that should be leading to increases in interest, action and viewing, ALL are falling.

Now let’s take a gander at each of these changes:

3 point takedown.

Takedown – TWO! Is so well-known around the sport, that I think Takedown-THREE! is going to have a hard time catching on.  If you were a baseball executive, would you count a home run as 2 runs just to increase scoring?
Still, I’m not completely against rewarding an extra point for a takedown, but I don’t think its going to make a big difference.  Especially when…

Hand-touch takedown is out.  

This is where the committee goes off the rails.  Instead of rewarding action and giving more takedowns, they are looking for a higher level of control – meaning fewer takedowns – and thus, doing less of what they should be doing, which is rewarding the agressor.  In short – what are you thinking, rules committee?

A better move would be to keep the takedown as a 2 pointer and instead, score takedowns more often, not less often.  See below for some out-of-the-box ideas on this from yours truly.

3 point nearfall

definitely agree with this rule.  A two-count is worth 2 points, a four-count is worth 4 points – why not a 3 count worth 3 points?  It should have never been taken out in the first place.  However..
This current rule change will do absolutely nothing to increase near fall points.  Wasn’t that the idea?  More scoring?  Who holds their opponent in danger for a two-count and then doesn’t bother trying to hold them for a 4-count because its just too much effort?


Why do we have to make the sport so complicated for the casual fan?

Every hand-swipe should represent a point – including the first one.  Think how easy this is…

  • One count = one point.
  • Two counts = two points.
  • Three counts = three points.
  • Four counts = four points.

Not rocket science, is it?  Also much easier for the casual fan to figure out our way too complicated sport, and most importantly…

Reward risk-taking.  Turn your opponent for even one secondget rewarded.

It is the #1 change that can be made to increase near falls and encourage action from top.


No riding time point unless there is a turn

I admit to being ambivalent about this one.  Eliminating the riding time point has been discussed many times before. It’s akin to the kick-off in football, where they keep changing it to make it less common. Honestly, if you don’t like the riding time point, just get rid of it all together, like they’re eventually going to do in football with kickoffs.
The negative, and there are many, is that it, again, complicates an already complicated sport.  And while I feel it is a PLUS to take away the incentive to just ride and not try to turn, they would be better off eliminating stall-type tactics on top (riding hips without a turn attempt – which used to be textbook stalling but in watching this year’s NCAA’s, is apparently accepted now), and of course, my above suggestion to bring back the one-count near fall point.

And now my friends, its time for some fun.  

Here are some rule changes I would embrace, and I think the committee should consider:

Takedowns awarded with less control, not more control (see my beef with the hand-touch takedown elimination rule above). 

Consider these changes:

  • Award a takedown when the wrestler takes his opponent to his butt and keeps him there (think crackdown position where the defensive wrestler doesn’t get an angle).
  • Get behind the opponent, its a takedown even from the feet.  Talk about confusion – reversals are awarded there but not takedowns.
  • Award a takedown in stalemate positions where someone has the legs (this concept was “lifted” directly from the great Wade Schalles, who once wrote that ALL stalemates should be eliminated and the referee should just award points from those positions).

Someone should ALWAYS score when action goes out of bounds.  Thank you to the Olympic Styles for this concept, yet taken even a step further.   If you go out of bounds under attack, opponent gets a point (call it a step-out or whatever you want).  The point goes to the agressor.  If both go out and neither is the agressor, the one that stepped out first loses the point.

Its a very simple concept, easy to implement, easy for the fans to grasp, and forces action in-bounds.

Here’s a wild one that violates my keep-it-simple concept but I’m throwing it out there for debate:

Attacking takedown = 3, countering takedown = 2.   Might be too complex, but something deep inside the Attack System King likes it.

Another Wild out of the box one for your reading pleasure:

Overtimes are a pain.  Too many times, its another 2 minutes of nobody trying anything.  Consider this as an overtime alternative: 

Both must wrestle in the small circle (applying the step-out rule above).  The step-out would probably have to be adjusted to both feet out but you get the idea – two wrestlers in each others faces, one goes out of the circle and loses.  You can win by Attacking the opponent out of the circle and that would happen more often than not.



The Four Corners of Wrestling

I saw this in the news recently – a battle of two top ten high school teams in Oklahoma.

One was ranked 3rd in the state, the other was 9th.

Highly anticipated showdown!

So there you have it:  the buzz and excitement of a packed gym with two heavyweights of Oklahoma high school basketball battling it out.

Here’s what the crowd was treated to:

Final Score:  4-2.

You read that right, and it is NOT a baseball score.

These teams went into essentially the Four Corners.

It was a tactic made famous by North Carolina many decades ago to slow down a superior opponent, or stall out with a small lead.

This was before the shot clock in collegiate basketball, which ended all that nonsense.  

But in high school basketball, even to this day, only about 10 states in the country have a shot clock, as the national federation as never adopted it.

Can you imagine the disappointment of attending a highly anticipated match-up like that only to be bored to tears by a glorified game of keep-away?

Well, if you’re a wrestling fan – Sure you can.

Because we have our own version of the Four Corners.

It often plays out like this:

Two top ranked competitors face off against each other.

One drops to their knees.

The other follows.

Here you thought you were going to see two top wrestlers slug it out, and instead you witness two competitors crawling around the mat like babies.

At least basketball had the common sense to install a shot clock (at the collegiate level anyway).

Im my very un-humble opinion, we shouldn’t allow that in wrestling either.

Any action that discourages offensive wrestling should be penalized as stalling immediately.

If I were in charge of the the rules, that’s how it would be.  You drop to a knee, ref starts counting to three.  You haven’t attacked by 3, Stalling,  One Point (yes – like Wade, I believe in eliminating the warning, too.  One point Right away.)

A side note, when I was competing in college, there was an NCAA champ who would drop to a knee – but then attack quickly.

That scenario is not what I’m referring to.  If you’re attacking off it, go for it (hence the 3 second count).  But more often than not, that’s not happening.

We in wrestling put up with way too much boring action, and it is completely unnecessary.

I didn’t rise to 3rd in the NCAA by laying back, I did it by attacking opponents relentlessly.

And that’s what I teach in my Attack System Wrestling program.  When the whistle blows, you are putting them on defense immediately – and keeping them there.

Its an exciting brand of wrestling and you can start mastering the system this summer.

You can also train in the Olympic Styles of Freestyle and Greco wrestling through Club Simpson.  We take the same attacking approach to every style.


How to not get “Phil’ed”

Today I take you way back before the Year 2000 (“The year 2000?  Yes Conan”)  for a story that will possibly amuse and/or horrify you if you’ve suffered a similar fate.

One of my collegiate wrestlers who will go unnamed (Phil) had drawn the #2 seed in the tournament.  The opponent was very tall and very lanky.

And also vulnerable to Phil’s best shot.

We proceeded to take him down 4 times in the first period.  8-3 lead after one.

2nd period choice:  I look at Phil, raise both hands in the touchdown position, and emphatically bark “NEUTRAL.”

And here’s where things go off the rails.

Phil looks at me and says, “I want to go DOWN.”

I look at him again, raise both hands in the touchdown position again, and MORE emphatically bark, “NEUTRAL!”

Phil, apparently struggling with the use of his brain cells that morning, repeats, “I want to go DOWN!”

After about three of these, I realize Phil is going to do what he wants.

I throw up my arms and say, “OK” and sit back down in the chair.

Phil chooses down.

Aaaaand his opponent shows why he’s seeded #2 and it has nothing to do with his ability to wrestle on his feet.

He proceeds to turn us relentlessly the entire period.

By the time the third period rolled around, we were down by 10 points and the match was basically over.

Now, this lesson could be about several things:  One being, coach knows best.  I do like that one but there are more.

Two being, when a collegiate wrestler is #2 seeded, really tall and terrible on his feet, you can bet he’s good on top position or he wouldn’t be seeded that high.   AKA, he’s winning somehow.

It can also be this:

Developing a strong top position – one that can completely flip matches – is an invaluable skill to have (especially in the takedown-rich state of Ohio where I reside).

“I love top position – but I was terrible from the top until I came here.  Now its my favorite position.”
-2022 State Placer and loyal member of The Crew

You can develop an entire system of wrestling on the mat – as well as on your feet – this summer (for youth, you can start to develop that complete system, its impossible for a youth wrestler to take it all in in such a short time, but starting down that path gives you a big leg up).


The first two skills this master coach taught

My good friend and coaching colleague, we’ll call him Tom (as his parents did), trained many state placers and champs throughout his 30+ years of coaching wrestlers – despite nearly all of them having never wrestled before they reached high school.

Let that sink in for a minute…

State placers, finalists and State Champs – all who had never wrestled prior to 9th grade.

It also goes without saying (although I’m saying it anyway), he wasn’t getting transfers moving in to his near-city-league school either.

Now THERE’S a master coach.  Anyone can look good coaching a roomful of all-stars.

I had the honor of coaching with him for a handful of years, and one day he revealed one of his biggest secrets to helping athletes jump levels quickly:  The first two things he taught beginning wrestlers.

I paraphrase:

I would teach beginning wrestlers two things right away:

  1. How to keep from getting pinned;
  2. How to PIN.

By teaching them how to fight off their backs, they could last longer in matches, meaning, more experience, meaning, getting better quicker.

Early on, their only chance of winning a match would be to catch someone on their backs and pin them. By teaching them how to pin, they would have a chance to win some matches and experience success – meaning they were more likely to stick around.

That last part can also be said for high level wrestlers competing in high level matches – or, wrestling someone who may be a few levels above you.

Your best opportunity to win may be Pinning them with methods I will be teaching at Thursday’s Pinner’s Paradise.

My inspiration for this event is the great Wade Schalles, the greatest Pinner the world of wrestling has ever known (I have talked bout him in numerous emails recently – look up a few I sent last week for instance).

You can register here and discover:

  • how to make your opponent want to QUIT – in multiple positions
  • The turn you’re only going to pin the top kids with (it won’t even work on lesser athletes)
  • The deadliest cradle in wrestling – and how to get to it multiple ways
  • The best way to counter a half, and why it won’t work on *this* devastating half
  • Rarely Taught – the power half from legs, “Randy-style” (You’ve likely never seen this variation taught anywhere else)

This event is open to all ages, but you have to submit an application and sign the waiver – especially sign the waiver, due to the inherent risks involved with some of the material being taught.  Also, you are strongly encouraged to bring a partner, so be sure to have them register as well.

If I were still coaching in college….

If I were still coaching in college….

Long long time ago, in a wrestling room far away, I coached on the collegiate level (for 15 years).

So recently, thanks to an invite from my good friend, let’s call him John like his parents did, I found myself at the Ohio State Buckeyes wrestling match.

And of course, the coach part of me looks at it from a slightly different perspective.

My perspective was, based on observations from that meet, if I were still coaching in college, here are some things I’d make sure to do…

One:   Run Cradles.  Specifically, run cradles because the tripod standup is so prevalent today in college wrestling.  I would guesstimate that at least half the wrestlers that night were using it.
And countering with a strong cradle taught with the necessary skills – would be rather easy.
Tripod stand ups are BEGGING for the return of the cradle (Keaton Anderson says ‘Hi’).

Two. I’d especially teach the Ohio boys how to get off the bottom position.
It always disappoints me to see how many from our state wrestle poorly on the mat – which leads to PA still being dominant at the collegiate level because in college, they let you ride so much more.  In fact, in college, it is absolutely critical to be able to escape from bottom.

Three (related).  I’d encourage the Ohioans to attend a strong Mat Wrestling camp in the summer – like our Mat Machine Camp.  You possess an enormous edge over most of the state if you excel on the mat.

Four (also related).  For the love of all that is wrestling, learn the fundamentals of shutting down leg riders.  While I recognize that the finer details of beating elite leg riders can be quite complex for wrestlers to grasp, the basic fundamentals really don’t take long to learn and can be taught rather quickly.

Five.  Funk is fun but most funk is countered rather handily with a few core skills.  Every collegiate wrestler should master these core skills to stopping their opponent’s funk.  They could immediately elevate their game by doing so.

Them’s my observations. 

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