Drilling is the number one way to improve your wrestling ability. Hands down, there is no other activity close to it. In order to be able to successfully hit any move, you must drill it over and over again until your muscles remember how to do it. You should be drilling for wrestling so much that you don’t have to think about the moves, you just do them. That is when you can go into a match with no plan and simple react to the situations that present themselves.
A major mistake wrestlers and grapplers tend to make is that they only drill one shot at a time before letting their partner shoot on them. Switching after each shot breaks up the flow way too much. This makes it harder for your muscles to remember what they need to do to complete the move. When you are drilling for wrestling make sure you do the move three or four times before you let your partner do his shots. It is much easier to correct the slight mistakes you make right after you go each time.
I used four takedowns my senior year of college when I won the NCAAs and every day I was drilling those moves over and over again. Those four shots were a fireman’s carry, a low single leg, an outside single leg and a front headlock. I repeated to myself over and over again if these shots cannot take down the best wrestler in the world, they are not good enough yet. I concentrated on each shot every time I was drilling for wrestling. Anytime my mind started to think about other things in my life I made myself stop and focus on the task at hand. Sometimes I drilled my shots with my eyes closed just so I could feel how it felt. Once I was able to execute a shot without the aid of my eyes I knew I was making great progress.
When you are drilling for wrestling and your partner is doing his shots, do not zone out and wait for your turn. Don’t think like a dummy even if your body is acting like one. You have to place your hands in the right spot and think about exactly what you would do if you were in a real match. For example when someone shoots a single leg takedown on me, my hands instinctively go for a whizzer, I drop my shoulder lower than my opponent’s chin, positioning myself to stop his shot if I wanted to. You still have to let your partner drill his moves without much resistance but knowing you can stop it if you had to, is empowering.
Drilling for wrestling is one of those rare situations in life where you can never do it too much. It’s sharpens your skills more and more with each repetition.
The equation is simple: The more you are drilling for wrestling, the better you become.