Basic wrestling techniques – The Whizzer

The whizzer is as near to a universally accepted term in the sport of wrestling than any other phrase. Its application is usually considered a counter to a shot such as a single-leg or double-leg. The action is the deep over-arm hook wrapping around the attacker’s outside shooting arm. For example, if a shooter attacks his opponent’s right leg. The defender would over-hook the left arm while pulling up and hipping in.

The wrapping of the arm is the whizzer. But as most coaches know, if a wrestler is going to successfully apply that technique a lot more needs to happen for the whizzer to succeed.

What’s your free hand doing? How about your head position? What about your elevated leg? You’re hopping on one foot, but how are you hopping? Where are your hips? Helping wrestlers to understand the dynamic complexity of the whizzer will open up doors for them to pay attention to total body control while using other techniques as well.

When wrestlers first learn the power of the whizzer, they are often taught that is a counter to an attacker’s shot. “If he shoots you’ve got to sprawl, and hit your whizzer.” For most wrestlers the whizzer starts out as only a counter. The most basic way to drill a whizzer is to teach wrestlers its application to square-off with an opponent after their shot.

The technique is very simple. The pressure and power of the whizzer driving the shooter forward pulls the shooter off of his attack, in this case a single leg. With the shooter’s grip loosened the defender continues his whizzer pressure, further driving the shooter’s head forward. With the shot defended the shooter completes the counter by squaring off to a front headlock position. The defender caps his opponent’s head, safely moving his hips away from the attack or shot.

Here’s Cary Kolat teaching one application of the whizzer:

As wrestlers become more advanced with the whizzer, coaches really can improve their athletes by teaching them about hitting a whizzer for distance. A wrestler who can hit a whizzer with distance opens up the possibility of scoring back points off his takedown.

The key components to hit a whizzer for distance is the fast hard rotation of the hip into the opponent’s body, the hop and drive off of the free or non-attacked leg, and the use of the rear-elevator by the leg that has been shot on.

Here are a few more applications of the whizzer in real wrestling scenarios.

When wrestlers advance in skill instead of looking to square-off they will be comfortable leaving their hip in tight. In this position wrestlers can use their whizzer and then hip-contact to turn an opponent’s shot into a whizzer followed by a hip toss.

Finally wrestlers can be taught to use the whizzer as an attack from the upper-body position. Often, the circular hop is used by wrestlers from Eastern-European nations. The attack requires an athlete to turn their hip into their opponent, while applying the whizzer. Then, the attacker places the rear-elevator leg in position. After this is done the wrestler with the whizzer starts his attack, while continually elevating his leg between his opponent’s legs and hopping into the whizzer, the attacker will take his opponent in a circle.

The goal of the attack is to off-balance the opponent, while tightening the whizzer. The attacker also will gain a far-arm over or under-hook to pull the opponent under him. As the wrestler hops, in he leans and throws his opponent, in an attempt to gain the takedown and back points.

Once perfected through drilling wrestlers will have advanced the whizzer into a lethal upper-body throw, far removed from the simple squaring off technique that most wrestlers start with.

Wrestling is a complex sport, which requires total body awareness and control. Although, the whizzer might look like a simple technique that uses an arm, much more goes into a successful use of the whizzer. All aspects of the move should be taught to wrestlers and perfected by drilling. Once the coach takes the lead in detailing the complexity of the whizzer and other moves as well, “The command will no longer be drill whizzers.” Wrestlers will follow the lead of the coach into a much more detailed understanding of the techniques involved in the sport.

Drills to consider in application of the whizzer (from simple to complex):

Squaring off
Limp-Legging on the mat (low-level)
Limp-Legging from the feet (high-level)
Taking the opponent to the mat with a whizzer
Drilling a whizzer for distance
Drilling a whizzer off a shot to a hip-toss
Drilling a whizzer for amplitude with the rear-elevator leg
Drilling a whizzer with the circular hop attack

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