Why Teach Offense Before Defense

I purposefully don’t teach the defense to a move until kids have had at least a week or two of learning and attempting to apply the offense successfully during live wrestling. This allows them to understand what success feels like and builds confidence in their ability to use the move. For example, if you teach a double and a sprawl on the same day, you will breed a fear of shooting since their first association with the move is both failure AND discomfort.

Plus we should be teaching aggressive wrestling that scores points. If kids are having more success with defense than offense, which do you think they will pick when they are wrestling a match?

Why 1-2 weeks before showing the defense?

You want time for it to sink in and build confidence so they will apply the technique during live wrestling and matches. By teaching the defense later, there are three main benefits:

  1. Once they start facing more adversity in practice they won’t give up. They know what it feels like to succeed and will be more hungry to fight for it.
  2. When you show the defense they have context as to WHY they are defending that way and the partner can give a better offensive feel
  3. You give a false sense of security for knowing how to defend a move. They might be able to stop someone’s double leg in practice who has had two days of practicing it. But when they go into a match they will be in for a surprise.

What about moves where you are focusing on countering?

If the focus is countering a move that isn’t part of the primary arsenal you are teaching, then those days it’s fine to show the defense and offense in the same practice. You don’t need them to be fully competent in the initial offense in order to learn how to counter it. For example, a headlock may not be an offensive move you focus on, but you better teach them how to defend it.

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