The Link between Football and Wrestling

While sports like bas­ket­ball, soc­cer, ice hock­ey and track can improve an athlete’s agili­ty and speed, no oth­er sport is as ben­e­fi­cial to foot­ball play­ers as wrestling.

The Link between Football and Wrestling

While sports like bas­ket­ball, soc­cer, ice hock­ey and track can improve an athlete’s agili­ty and speed, no oth­er sport is as ben­e­fi­cial to foot­ball play­ers as wrestling.

You’ve prob­a­bly seen the Twitter image that shows how many cur­rent Ohio State foot­ball recruits were mul­ti-sport ath­letes in high school.

It’s easy to under­stand why mul­ti-sport ath­letes are sought after. Competing in a vari­ety of roles shows ded­i­ca­tion and well-round­ed ath­let­ic abil­i­ty. It’s also a real­ly pro­duc­tive way to pass the time in your pri­ma­ry sport’s offseason.

And though many sports will improve over­all ath­leti­cism, wrestling takes the cake.

From Heisman Trophy win­ner Archie Griffin to Miami Dolphins full­back Larry Czonka, the list of promi­nent foot­ball play­ers with wrestling pedi­grees is long. Nearly 6% of NFL Hall of Fame inductees com­pet­ed on the mat in either high school or college.

Why? Four skills (among many oth­ers) trans­late direct­ly from the wrestling mat to the foot­ball field.

Tackling form

Low hips, straight back, eyes up — the per­fect stance for a take­down mir­rors great tack­ling form. Nobody in the world does this bet­ter than Olympic cham­pi­on Jordan Burroughs. (We think JB would have made an excel­lent strong safety.)

Hand fighting

Wrestlers are required to use their hands to fight for posi­tion, just like foot­ball play­ers. Think about a line­backer shed­ding a block, or a cor­ner jam­ming a receiver.

Leverage

At the line of scrim­mage, the low­er man is more like­ly to win the bat­tle. This same premise reigns on the wrestling mat, since no take­down is suc­cess­ful­ly exe­cut­ed with­out prop­er leverage.

Footwork

Throwing, block­ing and tack­ling all require a focus on prop­er foot­work and low­er body agili­ty. The unpar­al­leled foot­work sep­a­rat­ing Aaron Rodgers from oth­er NFL quar­ter­backs is the same skill giv­ing wrestlers Kyle Snyder and Kyle Dake a leg up on the competition.

As foot­ball comes to an end, encour­age your ath­letes to con­sid­er a sec­ond sport instead of just spend­ing the off­sea­son in the weight room. Not only will they stay in sea­son-ready shape, they’ll come to fall camp with plen­ty of lessons learned from the mat.