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bottom position - the starting position in which a wrestler's hands are in front of the starting line and the knees behind. The top wrestler assumes the control position by grasping the opponent's near elbow with one hand and the midsections with the other hand. In folkstyle wrestling, a wrestler can choose to start a period from the down position. If action travels out of bounds, the wrestler who is under the control of his or her opponent restarts action from the down position.


breakdown - a technique in folkstyle wrestling in which the wrestler in the top position flattens the bottom wrestler and turns him or her for a pin. Common breakdowns are the tight waist, arm chop, spiral ride and ankle breakdown.


arm bar - a common pinning or riding hold. A wrestler chops the opponent's arm and works to overhook the arm. To establish an arm bar, a wrestler holds an overhook and gets his or her hand across the opponent's back.


choice - in folkstyle wrestling, each wrestler chooses the starting position for one of the periods after the first. Wrestlers start the first period from the neutral position. Before the start of the second period, the referee flips a coin to determine who has the first choice for the starting position. The wrestler with the first choice can choose top, bottom, neutral or he or she can defer the choice to the third period. As a point of strategy, wrestlers most commonly choose the bottom position because as wrestlers advance in skill, they feel that escapes are easier to achieve.


cradle - a pinning hold that wrestlers learn early in their careers. To gain control of a cradle, a wrestler wraps one arm around the opponent's neck and the other arm around one leg and then locks his or her hands. The wrestler has "locked up a cradle" and can use it to hold the opponent's shoulder to the mat.


decision - a victory determined by points scored for takedowns, escapes, reversals, near falls, and in some instances such as college matches, a time advantage.


default - the outcome of a match when one wrestler is injured and unable to wrestle or continue wrestling.


disqualification - a situation in which a wrestler loses a match because he or she has violated the rules.


escape - getting away from the opponent's control and gaining a neutral position.


fall - the ultimate objective. It occurs when one wrestler pins the opponent's shoulders to the mat for a specified time. The match ends and the wrestler earning the fall is declared the winner, no matter how many points either wrestler has.


forfeit - the outcome of a match when one wrestler fails to appear.


front headlock - used to counter to an opponent's shot (or attempt at a takedown). The wrestler sprawls the legs back and traps the opponent's head under his or her chest while locking the hands around the neck and one arm. Once a front headlock is controlled, a wrestler will try to go behind the opponent for a takedown.


half nelson - the simplest of the pinning combinations. A wrestler in the top position reaches under an opponent's arm from behind and grabs the back of the opponent's head. He or she then pries the arm up while driving into the opponent until reaching a chest-to-chest position with the arm wrapped around the neck to earn points for a near fall.


illegal hold - a hold or technique that is not allowed. Wrestlers who use an illegal maneuver are penalized one point. Common illegal holds include a full nelson, headlocks in which the wrestler doesn't encircle an arm or locking hands around an opponent's waist when the wrestler is on top or in control of the opponent on the mat.


intentional release - a tactic used by a wrestler who is skilled at takedowns or who needs to catch up in points. The controlling wrestler intentionally releases the opponent, allowing an escape point to the opponent. The wrestler then tries to score a takedown for two points, thus trading the opponent's one point for the release for a takedown that is worth two points. This tactic is also known as cutting him (or her).


leg ride - a technique in which the wrestler in the top position uses the legs to turn an opponent. This is also called the grapevine position. A leg ride is an effective way to ride out an opponent (see also entry for ride).


major decision - the situation in folkstyle wrestling in which a wrestler wins a match by 8 to 14 points.


near fall - the situation in which a wrestler's shoulders are held in the danger, or exposed, position: one shoulder on the mat and the other wihin 45 degrees of the mat. Near fall points are also known as back points. Once a wrestler's shoulders break a 45-degree angle with the mat, the referee begins to count. If the shoulders are exposed for two seconds, the opponent earns two points. Five seconds are worth three points.


pin - synonymous with fall.


reversal - exchanging control from the bottom to the top position.


ride - the position of the wrestler on top who is working for a breakdown and turn to a pin. Wrestlers also ride out an opponent late in a match when they are ahead to prevent the opponent from getting an escape or reversal for one or two points.


scramble - a wild flurry of action that occurs when neither wrestler has control over the other or when one has tenuous control. A good scrambler uses any legal means necessary to stop a takedown attempt and convert it to his or her own score. Scrambling rarely consists of sound basic techniques.


set up - strategies used to maneuver an opponent out of position so that the wrestler can initiate a score. From the neutral position, a wrestler might set up the opponent by popping the opponent's arms up or dragging them across his or her body.


shoot - to attack and work for a takedown. The technique is known as a shot. A wrestler shoots on the opponent in a variety of ways with different takedowns, such as single leg, high-crotch or low single.


sprawl - to throw the legs back to counter a shot or an attack. From a sprawl, wrestlers learn counterattacks such as snapping and spinning behind or locking up a front headlock.


stalling - trying to slow the pace of the match, also referred to as passivity. This may happen when a wrestler is tired or is trying to protect a lead. The referee can warn a wrestler for stalling. A second stalling call earns the opponent a point.


stance - the starting position of the wrestler. In a square stance, the wrestler's feet are wide below the shoulders. In a staggered stance, one foot is forward in a stride position.


stand-up - a technique used to escape from an opponent. The wrestler must clear his or her arms and step up while pressing back into the top wrestler. Once the wrestler is on the feet, he or she must maintain balance and peel the opponent's hands of to break the lock and turn to face the opponent. All of this happens while the top wrestler aggressively works to return the opponent to the mat.


switch - commonly the first reversal technique taught to wrestlers. A switch involves clearing the arms, sitting to a hip, reaching back to the inside of the opponent's thigh and using leverage to turn and complete a reversal. From the bottom positino, wrestlers can score by escaping their opponent's grasp (worth one point) or reversing their opponent's control (worth two points).


takedown - a maneuver to establish control from an open position in which neigher wrestler has control. A takedown is worth two points in folkstyle wrestling. In freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, a takedown may be worth one, two, three or five points depending on the amplitutde of the takedown.


technical fall - the situation in which a wrestler is declared the winner of a match by reaching a particular point spread.


throw - quickly forcing an opponent from the feet to his or her back. Common throws include underhooks, overhooks and head ties.


turn - to force an opponent into a near fall position.


whizzer - a technique in which a wrestler wraps his or her arm over the opponent's arm when it is around the body or leg and uses it to develop leverage to counter an attack.

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Definitions from:

Coaching Youth Wrestling by American Sport Education Program

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