Some of the greatest wrestlers are short especially compared to athletes from other sports such as striking sports boxing and kickboxing for example. But why exactly is that?
Why are wrestlers short? There are several reasons for that. When you are shorter than the other wrestlers in your weight class, you can more muscle mass than them and still make the weight. And in wrestling, strength and explosiveness are super important.
That is the main reason in my opinion. The rest of them are that short people have a lower center of gravity which makes them harder to take down. Also, taller people have many more options when it comes to sports. They can do basketball, football, volleyball, etc. But when you’re a short person, a sport with weight classes, where you can compete with people the same size as you is a very solid choice.
Continue reading to learn more about the reasons why wrestlers are relatively short and to see the most effective techniques short wrestlers can use.
1. Lower center of gravity
When your center of gravity is low you have a better balance, you are harder to take down but at the same time, you have an easier time taking down someone with higher center of gravity.
That, of course, depends on the attacks you use for which we’ll talk about later.
2. Easier to change levels
Short wrestlers can change levels much easier and more quickly than their tall opponents. That’s because when your legs are short, your knees bend fast.
Level changing is important not only when attacking but also when defending attacks. That being said, short people can also sprawl much more quickly which makes them very hard to takedown (especially when attacking their legs).
3. Short Wrestlers are stronger
Strength is crucial in wrestling. You may be the fastest guy but if you don’t have the strength to finish the takedown after you grab the legs or to stop takedowns your chances of succeeding aren’t that great.
But those are good news for short wrestlers. When you weight the same weight as a wrestler who is taller than you, you probably have more muscle mass than that person.
Also when your arms are shorter, you can lift more weight. For example, have you noticed how people with short arms are able to lift much more when doing bicep curls than someone with long arms. That’s because the distance the weights need to travel is shorter making it easier.
The same goes for squatting, bench-pressing and lifting people (when it comes to wrestling).
4. Easier to get a Double Leg takedown
The lower center of gravity and the fast level changing combined with the fact that tall people can’t sprawl very fast makes the double leg a perfect takedown for short people.
They can go for the long legs of their tall opponents in a split of a second and finish the takedown using their lower center of gravity and strength.
5. Single Leg to High crotch
The single-leg finished with a high crotch is also another awesome takedown technique for short wrestlers.
After they change levels do a penetration/side step and grab the leg of their opponent it’s very easy for them to just lift the tall wrestler (because their center of gravity is under the center of gravity of their opponent).
That is very high to defend especially if you are a tall guy and a strong short person the same weight as you grab your leg.
6. Short wrestlers are quicker
Usually, short people are quicker and which is very important in wrestling. But being quick is different from being fast. Short people move can change levels, sprawl, do burpees and that sort of things quicker than taller people which makes them quicker.
But when it comes to sprinting let’s say 100-meter sprint, for example, the taller person will usually win because of their long legs. So we can say that tall people are faster (if spring is your definition of how fast someone is) but short people are quicker.
7. Better coordination
Proprioception – that’s the sense of body-positioning and self-movement. When your limbs are closer to the body you that sense is better. That makes short people have good coordination. That can be very beneficial in every wrestling situation. There are moments in wrestling when you know what to do but you can’t do it quick and technical enough to work. Often that’s because of a lack of muscle memory (you haven’t drilled the technique enough) or lack of coordination.
No matter if you are defending a takedown, attacking or scrambling on the ground, the good coordination can help you get the better of the situation.
8. Short wrestlers are more technical
That applies not only in wrestling but in all sports. Short people are just more technical than tall people. The reason for that is better coordination. When you have good coordination, you do the technique properly often when drilling.
That transfers to the muscle memory (the neuron connections in your brain that make you remember certain movements and help you execute it more effectively).
To be good at wrestling you need to be strong, explosive and smart but wrestling is also a very technical sport. Often the more technical wrestler beats the stronger one.
9. Better at maneuvering
When you are quick, have good coordination and agile than naturally makes you better at maneuvering. Short wrestlers have very nice footwork and they can be very elusive, move their legs out of the danger quickly and attack unexpectedly.
10. Easier to Duck Under and get behind the opponent
One of the easiest and safest ways to take somebody much bigger and stronger than you down is to get a back body lock and drag them to the ground.
It’s safe because he can’t sprawl on you and smash you which can happen when attacking the legs. And it’s easy because when you get the back body lock your opponent isn’t facing while you face him so he doesn’t have a whole lot to do to stop you from taking him down.
The Duck-Under is a cool way of using your opponent height advantage against him. The technique is simply clinching with the opponent and as he moves his arm towards you to clinch, you block it and move it out of the way and use that opportunity to change levels pivot and get the back of the opponent.
11. Short Wrestlers are More Aggressive
Aggression and activity can often win you points or even the match.
That isn’t just in wrestling I noticed it in other sports for example boxing or kickboxing or MMA. Usually, the shorter person is the “bull” he needs to close the distance and attack the taller opponent.
Tall people are often more defensive because they can rely on their height and reach to make things happen in combat sports in general. While short wrestlers have to get a better position first before making the things going.
Tall guys advantages
All that being said, I don’t want you to read the article and think that short wrestlers have all the advantages. While short wrestlers are good in the offense, tall wrestlers can be very effective when defending and they have a good countering game.
They can counter your attacks with things such as hip throws; front headlock etc. Also if they manage to sprawl on you that can be a nasty position for you.
While short wrestlers are good at shooting from a distance, tall wrestlers are more effective in the clinch because the speed of the level changes isn’t as important there.