How the hell do we get better on the mat?

How the hell do we get better on the mat?

3 Things:

1. Have a system

  • I think you need progression drills on both top and bottom.
  • The worst thing on either of these positions is to be in a holding pattern.
  • Here are some ideas and options for Top Work Transitions.

2. Talk about it constantly

  • Emphasize that takedowns win matches, but top work wins championships.
  • Convince the team to get excited about getting on top!
  • A three point near fall is worth three takedowns (and cuts).

3. Spend the time there

  • If the mat work is as important as you say it is, then put the time in.
  • Take one entire practice per week and designate it as “mat day” and do not waiver.
  • Warm up on the mat, drill on the mat, and wrestle on the mat (see bonus notes for ideas).


Take Action

The better your team gets on top, the better they become underneath, and not vise-versa. We have had issues in the past where we struggled on bottom. The easy answer seemed to be to drill and execute on bottom, but we did not see significant improvement. So, we decided that our teammates were not hammers on top. Therefore, we re-wrote the plan with 80% focus on on the top position. As we developed our skill set on top, the bottom began to take care of itself.

Not to say that you do not need options underneath, but when your practice partner is better on top than many people you will face, then you seem to get a sense of confidence on bottom.


Bonus Note:

Enter your email address below and we will send you bonus notes that include unorthodox ideas on how to structure a mat day practice.


photo via photopin (license)

sioredas bobble headAbout the Coach

Wrestling coach and former All-American, Coach Jon Sioredas has coached at the NCAA Division 1 level for the past decade and has been affiliated with several top 25 programs.

With twenty-five years in the wrestling world (fifteen as a competitor and ten now as a coach), Coach Sioredas shares his many thoughts and actions as he continues on this journey and strives to change lives through effective training and leadership.

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