Wrestling Positions

Wrestling Positions

All wrestling moves stem from the opening positions of the wrestlers. This means that the wrestlers practice moves to make based on their positioning at the beginning of rounds. Depending on whether they are starting in the neutral position or the referee’s position, wrestlers have an idea of what moves they can make and how they can accumulate the most points from their starting position.

Referee Position

In wrestling, there are two main positions that coaches teach to their athletes. They are known as the neutral position and the referee’s position. These are the names of the positions that every wrestling round will start in. The athletes may also take these positions if the referee stops the round for any reason in the middle of a round. The wrestlers will resume the round in the positions that reflect who had the advantage when the referee stopped play. 

Starting Position

The starting position in wrestling is also called the referee's position. This is when one of the wrestlers begins or resumes the round with his hands and knees on the mat while the other wrestler starts on top, behind and in control of his opponent. Wrestlers each have one round each to choose how they would like to start in the referee’s position. Most wrestlers plan the moves they make out of the referee’s position as this is a way to gain points early in rounds that are started like this. The referee’s position is also used at the start of double overtime with the participant that scored first deciding the positions that they will start in. If there were no points scored throughout the match then the referee flips a disk to determine who can choose their position. If nobody scores within that double overtime period then the athlete that was on top of the starting position is declared the winner.

Neutral Position

Wrestling Neutral Position

The neutral position in wrestling is the position that begins a wrestling match. It is always the position that the wrestlers begin the first round of the match in. The neutral position is just as it sounds; it does not give either wrestler the advantage that the referee’s position gives. The wrestlers start standing up across the mat from each other and facing each other. If there is an overtime period in the wrestling match it then begins with the wrestlers in the neutral position. It is generally harder for wrestlers to get points out of the neutral position as it is harder to get wrestlers down on the mat from the standing, neutral position.

Basic Wrestling Moves

Throughout a wrestling match, wrestlers have many moves at their disposal that help them earn points in order to win the match. Some of the moves that wrestlers can use in order to earn points are takedowns, reversals, escapes, back points, and penalty takedowns. Each of these moves has a different amount of points associated with it. A takedown is worth two points for the wrestler who performs it successfully. A takedown is when a wrestler goes from the neutral standing and brings their opponent to the mat and takes control. Escapes are when the bottom wrestlers break away from the top wrestler and revert back to the neutral position. This type of wrestling move is only worth one point. A reversal move is worth two points and is when the wrestlers are on the mat and the wrestler on the bottom is able to reverse control and put his opponent on the bottom. Another way of gaining points is through back points. These points can be gained by forcing near falls, where the bottom wrestler is forced into a high bridge, leans back on their elbows, exposes four inches or less of their shoulder to the mat, or has one shoulder down on the mat and the other 45 degrees above the mat. These near falls are worth two or three points depending on how long the opponent's back is exposed. A pin does not receive any points but instead automatically grants the win to whoever was able to successfully pin their opponent. A pin is when an opponent has both shoulders forced on the mat for at least two seconds.


What are the positions in wrestling?

  • Starting Position
  • Neutral Position
  • Referee’s Position

What are the moves in wrestling?

  • Takedowns
  • Reversals
  • Escapes
  • Back points
  • Penalty takedowns
  • Pins

What is the best move in wrestling?

The best move in wrestling is the cradle which has many variations and could be a great way to get points and could even lead to a pin. This move is similar to the way someone would hold a baby, which is why it is called the cradle. The cradle can be performed by grabbing the neck of an opponent, while also wrapping the elbow of the other arm behind the opponent’s knee. After this, the wrestler would lock his hands together and the cradled wrestler will find it very difficult to escape. If the cradle is tight and done correctly it would most likely lead to three back points and if three points are not achieved it would most likely lead to a pin. Because of the amount of points that the attacking wrestler would get, the cradle is a good move to practice and perfect in order to use in a match.

What is the most painful wrestling move?

The most painful move that a wrestler can use is the crossface. In amateur and high school wrestling, the crossface is the most painful because a wrestler can wind up and strike his opponent’s nose with their forearm. This move is considered very effective because the pain given to an opponent allows the attacking wrestler to scramble behind their opponents and gain points by continuing to do new moves. In professional wrestling, the crossface is when a wrestler wraps both of their hands across an opponent's face and pulls back, applying pressure to the nose and shoulders. Many wrestlers can create different variations of this move to make it unique to them and in order to figure out what works best for the way that they wrestle.