Team USA Technique Tip: Front Headlock Counter to Single-Leg

Updated: August 14, 2023

Photo: Sydney Jahn and Kaydence Bonewell, girls wrestlers from Colorado, demonstrate a front headlock counter to a single-leg takedown.

By Eric Everard

Sydney “Bulldog Ant” Jahn, a 2023 Colorado girls wrestling region placer as a junior, demonstrates a front-headlock counter shared by current U17 Women’s Freestyle World Team Coach Brazel Marquez at a recent Olympic Training Center camp. Coach Marquez is also the assistant coach for Vanguard University women’s wrestling team.

Eric Everard, the head coach for girls wrestling at Vista Ridge High School and Cry Wolf Wrestling in Colorado Springs, provided content. Assisting Sydney is Kaydence “Baby Face” Bonewell, a two-time Colorado girls wrestling state placer and Ottawa University commit.

The following is a step-by-step breakdown of this wrestling move.

  1. From a front-headlock position, when you are underneath, Sydney starts from the quad pod position to maintain options from being taken down. Sydney keeps a strong neck up and into her opponent’s chest, while staying off her knees.
  2. Sydney focuses on her position and balance as she secures her opponent’s elbow that is on her chin. Notice how Sydney’s left elbow is pointing down towards the wrestling mat. In last month’s WIN Magazine issue, Sydney’s opponent under-hooked this same side, which will also work to Sydney’s advantage with her timing to execute this front-headlock counter.
  3. Sydney continues to pull her opponent’s elbow and does a slight back step with her left foot, while sinking her right hip to her right heel. This brings her opponent’s weight forward and off balance. It is important for Sydney to keep her right hip off the mat because she is going to immediately explode from this position to a single-leg on her opponent’s right leg. Timing your misdirection movement, backwards, then forward in this scenario, creates a significant advantage for your success.
  4. Since Sydney is balanced with her hips off the mat, she will reach to secure her opponent’s right leg behind the knee and start to step towards securing a single-leg. Notice how Sydney’s head is still up and she is still pulling on her opponent’s elbow to keep her opponent off balance.
  5. Sydney continues to bring her opponent’s elbow to their own right knee and traps it with her single-leg. Sydney’s shoulder is creating pressure against her opponent’s right leg and she is on her toes to continue driving into the single-leg.
  6. Sydney continues focusing on her shoulder position and pressure on her opponent’s right hamstring, while planting her right hand on the mat to keep her head up and off the mat. From this position, Sydney will finish the single-leg by shelving her opponent’s right ankle on her own right thigh and transitioning into a leg-lace for freestyle or finish the takedown in folkstyle. Your coach will have several options from this position to finish the takedown.

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