Wrestling Drills

While there are certainly more great wrestling drills that can be used, the initial below list will get you started and most can be used with wrestlers of all experience levels. I’m working on breaking these down into individual videos as we speak and hope to have them up soon. But for now, the below video from a coaches clinic I put on includes most of them. Additionally, most wrestling drills can be turned into games by assigning points, a time frame to compete and a consequence for losing.

All of these wrestling drills are organized systematically along with practice plans contained in the Youth Wrestling Season Blueprint. If you need help figuring out the best way to plan your season, I highly recommend checking it out.

Stance, Motion & Level Changes

The most basic of all wrestling drills where the wrestler moves in circles, shuffling feet between attack and square stances, as well as level changes. Add layers as the season goes of downblocking, sprawling and taking a variety of shots, but do NOT go through the motions. Correct head/shoulder/knee/toe alignment, depth of level changes, shuffling of feet and not crossing, etc.

Mirror Drill

Partners do stance, motion and level changes facing each other and focus on not letting them get lower than them. “Mirror” each other and teach how to not give up an angle. For this wrestling drill, you can also have them stance check, make contact without reaching and then take a shot at the end of 30 seconds or a minute.

Head Position Battle

Partners start separated, keep elbows in and make contact with head first, then hands go into inside and outside ties. They then fight each other for head position and angles for 30 seconds x 3 goes.

Holding Position Drill

One person snaps and moves the other while they try to stay square. Emphasize tight neck and small steps as they get snapped, as well as how to square up. 30 sec each x 2 goes each partner.

Snaps & Motion Drill

Inside ties, head and wrist snaps and how to coordinate shuffling feet while also keeping a lead leg and position. Teach the concept of push/pull and keeping their elbows bent down. Have the partner also try to hold good position and thumb block in order to teach wrist snapping. 1 min each x 3x

Toe touch game

1 min goes, 1 point for every toe touch. This is a competitive wrestling drill where the winner touches the other’s toes more times. It doesn’t count if they are currently touching your toe. Emphasize level changes/fakes, basic downblock re-attacks, not diving for toes.

Head/Hands/Downblock Drill

Make sure partner shoots full drop step back up into a good stance; other person keeps head in “pocket” between ear and neck and pushes them down with it, shuffles in a circle toward that side and passes elbow down and away

Don’t let them touch your legs drill

A more active version of the downblocking drill, also incorporating sprawls. The partner goes about 75% trying to get to a shot where the hands are locked. Use head/hands defense as the primary and sprawls if they get past head/hands.

Knee Slide/Sprawl Drill

Start on a double leg or a high crotch. Partner gives a half sprawl and you slide front knee in between theirs, bringing belly back to leg, stepping outside leg behind them and “windshield wipering” the inside foot. Approx 2-3 knee slides before turning corner

Hands Behind Back Shot Drill

One partner stands in a high stance with their arms out. The other puts their hands behind their back and must level change, take a shot and drive up/across. This will force them to shoot with their hips/belly versus their hands or leaning in with their shoulders. 1 min each x 3 sets (*Note: This is one of those wrestling drills that may be ugly at first but let them know that is normal)

Rock Drill

One partner gets in a wide base and pretends they are a rock. Emphasize that the bottom person does NOT move on their own (they are a rock afterall). The other partner pushes, pulls and tries to knock them over. They are only knee sliding and adjusting their bodies so they don’t fall. This drill teaches to be gritty in their base and how to make small adjustments. 30 seconds each x 3 sets.

Sumo Game

Use a small circle and goal is to push the other person out. It’s a winner stays in game and you can count takedowns also. Teaches basic positioning and competitiveness.

Drop Steps/Penetration Steps

I recommend with beginners that they simply alternate their steps without coming back up. Many will have trouble driving their front knee down, so in the beginning it helps for them to use their hands to push their front knee to the mat. Also make sure they step heel first, then toe.

Win the Hand Fighting

Once they learn the basics of hand placement for snaps and how to move their partner, this focuses attention on winning the mental and physical battle of being in charge. How do you “win” hand fighting? Getting the other person out of position and gaining an angle. Try to snap their hands to the mat, pass an elbow across where you can touch their leg, etc.

Hands on Drilling

Partner one drills their takedowns only for 1-2 minutes and simulates that they are letting the Partner Two up to take them down again by placing their hands on their head and arm (“cutting them”). Partner Two should now hit a stand up and when they turn to face Partner One, Partner One is already snapping and moving them into another shot. The goal of the drill is for Partner One to turn off their brain and just flow, taking a shot every 3-5 seconds. This drill should only be done late in the season or by experienced wrestlers or it will end up sloppy.

Spin Drill/Moving Spin Drill

Have them place the center of their chest between the partners shoulder blades first. They need to feel comfortable using their weight. Then have them put their elbows in tight to their body, place their hands on the shoulders and then spin behind, alternating directions on the whistle. Their hands should adjust to push the head down, block the arm and also the back of the thigh before the hip. The “moving” version of this drill includes the bottom partner crawling forward/back and circling and also trying to block the spin with their arm, forcing the top wrestler to push the arm down.

Float Drill

This drill teaches how to stay in good position when the bottom wrestler is sitting, rolling, changing over, etc. Have one partner start in a sit out and the top wrestler with their head behind the partners head, hands hooked under the armpits and on their toes. As they partner moves and rolls, they try to “float” with them trying to keep their hips behind the hips, head behind the head and staying on their toes.

Half/Hop Over Drill

One partner starts flat on their belly and the other has a wrist & half. The bottom wrestler looks up & away, post their arm and leg out to the side. On the whistle, the top wrestler hops over to the other side and the bottom wrestler must then switch head, arm and foot position also. After 5-7 hops, you can double whistle and turn it into a live situation.

Sit out/Scoot Drill

Teaches how to hold position and be comfortable in a sit out without getting sucked back. One partner starts in a sit out, the other hooks their armpits. Partner on top simply gives a variety of motions, pushing, pulling, rotating sideways, etc. The person in the sit out learns how to scoot their hips and post their hands for balance while quickly recovering. On command the wrestler in the sit out should peel hands, seal elbows and hip heist.