Wrestling Defense: Sprawl and Score

This defensive technique can stop an opponent’s leg attack and put you in position to score.

Sometimes, a good offense is a good defense on the wrestling mat.

Your sprawl can shut down an opponent’s attack of your lower body. From this position, you can attempt to score points with the sprawl and score.

“Defending a head inside single [leg takedown] by sprawling and scoring will happen when your opponent attacks your leg,” Division I coach and former collegiate wrestler Kyle Borshoff says. “You will then have an opportunity to sprawl and score.”


When your opponent begins to attack your leg, you need to use your sprawl. The sprawl is a defensive technique than can help you neutralize an opponent’s lower-body attack. The move requires you to bring your legs back and allow your hips to hit the mat.

Once you have sprawled and your opponent is extended:

  • Wrap your arm around your opponent’s chest.
  • Turn your hip down and attack your opponent’s near-side ankle.

Once your opponent breaks their lock on your leg:

  • Spin behind.
  • Finish in your takedown position.

“This wrestling movement mixes offense and defense together and is a great way to get ahead of your opponent,” Borshoff says.

To score points, you’ll want to work on your offensive techniques in practice. The headlock is a throw that can earn you takedown points. The gut wrench exposes your opponent’s back to the mat and can put them in a pinning position.