A few things inspired me this morning to blog about the importance of positioning for wrestlers, and since it has been quite a while since I blogged at all, I knew I needed to get this written down!
After watching this match where now 11x World Champion Saori Yoshida of Japan defeats Sweden’s Sofia Mattsson in the 55kg (121lbs) weight class at the 2013 World Championships, I wanted to highlight some important ideas on the importance of positioning.
1. Both wrestlers have amazing positioning, keeping their opponent in front of them, their elbows in, and their levels equal or below their opponent’s. This is so important for developing wrestlers to watch and understand how vital this skill is to develop. At the highest level, everything is about positioning and the ability to control the opponent in front of you.
2. Their defense (sprawls, down-blocks) are efficient because of their position. The success of their defense is directly linked to how well they can keep their opponent in front of them. This is a successful way for a wrestler to keep a match close and give themselves the opportunity to win against a tough opponent. I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to teach this to my girls at my Sunday wrestling club practices.
3. Saori Yoshida, 11x World Champion and 3x Olympic gold medalist is the world’s toughest female wrestler. Most opponents do not keep the match as close as this one was. I believe that Mattsson did a great job against her because of her ability to keep her position, defend against Yoshida’s amazing shots, and get a few shots in herself. I’ve got a lot of young girls who will be going to big national tournaments in the next couple months. For them, the importance of position cannot be stressed enough! Although I know we are going to have a lot of wins, we are also going to run up against top nationally ranked girls where we need to focus on our basics, maintain good position, and keep the match close.
Sometimes, positioning can close the gap for a young wrestler who is up against a talented champion.