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Section 2: The Set-Up

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

In this section, I want to spend some time talking about set-ups and how they relate to the actual takedown. The first point that needs to make is that set-ups and tie-ups are two different concepts. A wrestler can perform set-ups from tie-up positions, but the first function of the tie-up is to control the tie-up position. Sometimes coaches and wrestlers get the two confused. Tie-up positions and how they relate to takedowns will be discussed in the section following set-ups.

Coaches often have a dilemma with the question of whether the setup or the actual takedown should be taught first. The answer to this question is that it could be done either way. However, I feel that it is easier to teach set-ups after a wrestler knows how to perform the takedown. Also, once a wrestler can perform a particular takedown, it is easier to learn numerous other set-ups for that same takedown.

It is important to view the setup as an essential part of each takedown and not as a separate

entity by itself. I say this because we must start with the premise that in most matches, the

the opposing wrestler will be in a protective stance position. The offensive wrestler must be able to force the opposition out of position, make him/her react to create an opening, fake him/her out of position, or lure him/her into a plan of attack. If a wrestler does not use a set-up, they will have to depend on speed and power to penetrate the opposition's defense. This often results in wasted energy and an ineffective attack. If a wrestler habitually uses a set-up for all of his/her takedown attempts, his/her success rate should be higher.

What Makes a Set-Up Work?

There are four aspects of the set-up that are critical to its success.

Wrestlers need to:

(1) pay strict attention to the position of their bodies before they start the set-up

(2) anticipate the reaction

(3) time their shot

(4) use as much speed as possible.

1) If a wrestler positions his/her penetrating foot and his/her body parts as close to their destination as possible before doing the set-up, his/her takedown success rate will be higher. For instance, if a wrestler secures inside control, puts his/her penetrating foot in front, and positions his/her head correctly for a Fireman's Carry, a good set-up should improve his/her chances for takedown


2) Most set-ups do not require that wrestlers wait until the opposition reacts to a set-up before he/she attacks. Wrestlers need to anticipate that the opposition will react and attack immediately after the set-up. For example, if a wrestler performs a head snap to set up a Single-Leg Tackle, he/she should not wait for the reaction. He/she should just head snap and go.

3) Good set-ups require that wrestlers time their shots. In most situations, this requires that wrestlers go from the set-up right into the attack. Timing has a lot to do with anticipating how the opposition will react. The better the timing, the more effective the set-up and the takedown will be.

4) Speed is a very important aspect of the setup. Speed is an aspect of wrestling that is frequently taken for granted. I find that many people assume that some wrestlers are just faster than others. Sometimes wrestlers appear to be quicker because they spend a considerable amount of time working on their technique, timing, and speed. Speed is the

variable that makes the setup work. Wrestlers need to use as much speed as possible when

going from the set-up into the takedown attack.


After a wrestler has learned how to perform the basic Double Leg Tackle, he is ready to start

learning how to perform set-ups. InPhase Two, wrestlers will be learning three different setups. They will [learn how to use the: (1) Elbow Post; (2) Head Snap; (3) Shoulder Pop to set up a Double Leg Tackle.

A) The Elbow Post Set-Up

1) To drill this set-up the partner must extend both arms away from the body and to ward the opposing wrestler.

2) The offensive wrestler must Start in a good stance position with the knees flexed.

3) The hands should be positioned in the lap position and close to the sides of the body.

4) When the opposing wrestler reaches, the offensive wrestler, with both thumbs to the inside and above the opposing wrestler's elbows, should push the defensive wrestler's arms up as he penetrates into a Double Leg Tackle.

5) As the offensive wrestler begins to post and penetrate, he should not raise his head or - own body up. If anything, his body should go lower as he begins to penetrate. The offensive

The wrestler should keep his arms as close as possible to the sides of his body as he shoots in on the Double.

B) The Head Snap Set-Up

The Head Snap Set Up is one of the most effective set-ups a wrestler can use for a takedown.

It can be used for many different takedowns and from many different positions. Below, I will

explain how to use it to set up a Double Leg Tackle from a non tie position. (Keeping in mind that the Head Snap Set-Up can be used from control tie-up positions as well ). We will cover how to use the Head Snap from a tie-up position in a later phase.

1) Before a wrestler Head Snaps the opposition, he should Start with his hands and arms in a protective position. They should be held in front and close to the sides of the body.

2) When the offensive wrestler reaches to snap the opposing wrestler's head, he should

reach from the inside out, and not from the outside in.

3) The reach should be quick, and the snap should be forceful. Remember, you are trying to get the opposition to react.

4) As the opposition reacts to the Head Snap, the offensive wrestler should shoot in on the Double Leg Tackle immediately· The offensive wrestler should keep his arms close to the sides of his body as he shoots in. Shooting with the arms too far out will leave the offensive wrestler vulnerable to a whip over.

C) The Shoulder Pop Set-Up

The Shoulder Pop Set-Up, although not as effective, is used in a similar way to the Head Snap Set-Up. It can also be used to set up many different types of takedowns. Below, we explain how to use the Shoulder Pop to set up a Double Leg Tackle.

1) The wrestler should Start from a good standing position with the hands held in a protective position.

2) The offensive wrestler should reach out quickly as if he were punching the opposing wrestler's shoulders with the palms of both hands.

3) The offensive wrestler should post the opposing wrestler's shoulders hard with the intent

to upset his balance but within the rules. The offensive wrestler should shoot immediately into the Double Leg Tackle after posting the shoulders.

4) As the offensive wrestler shoots in, he should make sure that he keeps his arms as close

to the side of his body as possible. If the arms are held too far out, it will leave a wrestler

vulnerable to a whip over.

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