The Half Nelson is a high school wrestling move that should be your bread and butter when it comes to pinning your opponent. It can be hit from pretty much any postion, as long as your hand has access to the back of their head, and it's extremely effective if done right. In this post, I'm going to talk about some common mistakes I see that people make when throwing the half nelson wrestling hold, that are killing their chances of getting the pin.
#1: Putting your hand on their neck instead of their head
When first throwing the half, many peoples instinct is to throw their hand over the neck. However, in this position, the bottom wrestler can use all their neck, back, and shoulder muscles to fight you. Instead, go to the head, and tuck it in, like this:
This allows you to throw the wrestling hold in highly leveraged way that will turn them much easier.
#2: Not Getting at a 90 Degree Angle
Once you have their head tucked in as shown above, it's important to get an angle on them. What you're going to do is slowly walk around as you turn them, eventually getting to a 90 degree angle, giving you maximum leverage to turn them those final few inches for the pin. Notice how the wrestling below executes this part of the wrestling hold perfectly, getting to 90 degrees and being ready for the pin. Notice also how they lift the arm as they get to the side.
#3: Not Sinking The Half Nelson Wrestling Hold
The wrestler above did a perfect job getting to 90 degrees, but if they don't act fast, they may commit another cardinal sin that many high school wrestlers make with this wrestling hold, and that is not sinking the half. This is the point when you move your hand past their had, bring your tricep all the way to the bottom wrestler's neck, wedging their head in your armpit. The wrestler below also correctly lifts the head with their elbow, putting more pressure on the shoulder blades and making it harder to bridge.
#4: Not Making Use of Your Other Arm
While most high school wrestlers know that it takes one arm to pin an opponent with this wrestling hold, not many realize that what you do with your other arm is just as important. The most effective tactic is to start out with a one on one, and keep your arm under their back as you pin them. This gives them less wiggle room to escape, and makes for a quick pin. Another effective tactic is shown above, lifting their tricep and locking onto your other shoulder. This makes it hard for them to squeeze that arm out and turn over. Finally, you can take the wrist of that same arm and pin it flat to the mat, again making it hard for the other wrestler to get out.
#5: Not Staying On Your Toes
This is a mistake that many amateur wrestlers make. You must stay on your toes so that all your weight is going straight on their chest. This holds them down as well as making it harder for your opponent to breath, which oftentimes hastens the pin. Notice how the wrestler above has a wide base for this highschool wrestling move, and raises his hips to leverage his whole body directly against his opponents chest. The wrestler above has done everything right, and the only thing his opponent can do is hope that the bell comes before the pin.
I really hope these tips helped you. These are the little tips that will make the big difference, and put you light years ahead of the competition.
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