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This may be considered a stupid question. But I gotta ask:

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For the left-handed wrestler, are there any nuances, oddities, or “disadvantages” at all?
Before you answer, think about this: In baseball, the shortstop position is crafted solely for a right-handed player.
I KNOW it’s an entirely different sport. So what I’m asking is, does wrestling have anything about it that
gives any kind of advantage in any way to the right-handed wrestler? Perhaps certain moves, etc.

Any lefties out there ever find a particular challenge by being lefty?

Thanks!

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Brent Metcalf (I think it was) used to say that being left-handed caused problems for his opponents because of his stance and the way he ties up or takes shots. 

Are you Jimmy Cinnabuns?

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I hear people talk about the left-handed headlock more than anything else other than in general people do one thing to one side and something else to the other. Such as high crotch to the right side and outside single to the left (vaguely similar arm motions, I guess)

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I think it might be more of an advantage in some situations. Not sure if they are left handed at all or not but both metcalf and nato had a very successful left handed hi-c and I’ve seen a few of the penn state guys hit a left side headlock and be really successful. I think most people are used to defending something a certain way and when you hit it to their less dominant side it causes a little hesitation which at the d1 level, could be just the little bit you need to get the takedown.


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Tommy Rowlands was determined that there was an advantage to a lefty lead leg. Not necessarily determined on left or right-handed but more focused on lead leg. Said some of the best wrestlers in the world were lefty lead. 

I guess I might relate it to being southpaw in boxing. There are advantages in certain aspects and I’m sure there are drawbacks as well. 

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The only real disadvantages for lefties are probably in the developmental stage.  Most of the technique they're learning is likely shown by a traditional righty, (i.e. right foot lead, high-C to the left, head inside single to the right), so there is a little bit of a gap there in terms of visualization/recreation.  That's not something that lefties would typically be unfamiliar with, though, so I don't think it's a huge deal.

As far as advantages, there are definitely some advantages for lefties, even more so at younger ages where kids don't have as much experience in those positions.  I think the gap is much smaller at the higher levels--pretty much every solid NCAA wrestler has a good whizzer on both legs, good in the crackdown position on either side, etc.--but any small advantage you can get is meaningful.  Metcalf and Tomasello are great examples of guys that made a killing from a fairly straightforward elbow-post, lefty high-c.  Seems that those two had a much higher finishing percentage than most as well.  

It makes sense... if 90% of my experience defending a high crotch is on my right leg, and you're shooting on my left, I'm not going to be as comfortable there.  

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3 hours ago, gimpeltf said:

I hear people talk about the left-handed headlock more than anything else other than in general people do one thing to one side and something else to the other. Such as high crotch to the right side and outside single to the left (vaguely similar arm motions, I guess)

As a lefty I  can say that the headlock was my best move and maybe that's the reason why

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So I’m in a good position to answer this. I wrestled right leg lead up until my sophomore year of HS then I switched to left leg lead for the remainder of HS and college. 

The main difference for offense is the ease to getting to a single leg. A lot of the time you don’t need a set up and can just be more based on timing.( ala Logan Stieber)  It’s obviously harder to get to your high crotch and I found unless I hit it off an elbow pass or underhook I couldn’t get to it. Although I did get quite good at getting to it off the underhook and guys aren’t used to fighting off a high crotch to their left leg. Made finishing a lot easier. 

 

The big big difference on defense is you have to be very disciplined with closing the  gap and not reaching. If you reach to close the gap you’re getting single legged by a good wrestler.  

 

Hand fighting can be a big advantage as most people don’t handfight well with their left hand. If you can win the handfight with your left on their right most guys are lost.  So being dominate with the left gives you a chance to win that side.  

Edited by Regulator

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Any sport where you face your opponent (wrestling, boxing, tennis), lefties have an advantage. Lefties go against righties 90% of the time, so they're used to facing you, but you only come across a lefty 10% of the time, so you're not used to them.

Agreed with the above poster that this advantage gets minimized at higher levels. I always watch to see which side people cover on in the referee's position and it's almost 50/50 at the NCAA tourney and I'm pretty sure 50% of those guys are not lefty.

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Great question actually and I assume you mean left leg lead.  However, the left leg lead position doesn't necessarily mean the guy is left handed...it is just the way they feel more comfortable wrestling.  In boxing for instance, the right handed fighters lead with the left leg and vice versa.  Regulator has it correct as the left leg lead will usually shoot singles to the opponents right leg.  If more wrestlers lead with the right leg, they have an advantage of seeing this look more often than the right leg lead does in seeing the left leg lead stance.  Flip side though, it makes it more difficult to hit the hi-c.  So if a left leg lead's favorite shot is the hi-c he will have to have a good set up to get the back leg forward.  Lastly, the double leg probably won't matter as much as either way, you step with your lead leg directly between the stance.

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40 minutes ago, Gantry said:

Nice breakdown, thanks for sharing.  What made you switch your lead leg in high school?

Not really sure exactly why I first started trying it. But I think my original thought was I’m not as athletic as most people but I’m pretty smart so I thought I could learn all shots to both sides. 

The deciding moment came when I wrestled one of our states best wrestlers( 1 of only a few 4xers in our state). The first period I wrestled right leg lead and he got in deep a few times and I wasn’t close to scoring. So I switched in the 2nd and 3rd and did quite a bit better. So I was leaning towards leading left leg. Later that year I wrestled him in the freestyle state finals and scored the first couple tds and got the better of him on our feet although he scored late and got a couple guts to win the match. That sealed it. 

Ultimatey I think my offense and pace were better than my defense. So being able to get to my single more often kept guys on their toes. It also forced me to be better at handfighting and use both hands. In college I had to learn to have a good shin whizzer defense because guys could get to my front ankle somewhat easy. I think guys that lead left leg in college have to have great head level defense and down blocks to keep guys off their front leg.

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Lefty myself.

 

At the time I didn’t notice or think about any advantages/disadvantages but looking back...

I would imagine neutral ties were challenging for opponents. I worked primarily out of a Russian tie in college. That was probably uncomfortable/foreign to have their dominant arm tied and have to defend with their off arm. Shooting I was right leg dominant so I did most of that like a righty. Plus, everything neutral is taught right handed so that’s how I did it as well. High crotch and single with right arm attack so that may have been disadvantage me.

 

Lining up on top seems like a major advantage for lefties since most people line up on the left. All the near attacks and break downs are done with the left hand. Chop, spiral ride, near wrist control, half, cross face cradle, near side cradle, claw. 

As a lefty on bottom my dominant arm was probably better able to defend since it was closest to the opponent.

Seems like cross wrist type moves would be the advantage for a righty. Which for me was definitely true. Having my left arm tied up was difficult to deal with.

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3 hours ago, Hotkarl712 said:

As a lefty I  can say that the headlock was my best move and maybe that's the reason why

A friend of mine has a left handed son who was pretty good at the local high school level. Was a league and district champion. His only real move was a left handed headlock. As a senior he won 29 matches, 24 of which were by pin from left handed headlock. Several of which were against better wrestlers who were beating him. His biggest comeback win was when he hit the left handed headlock in a match where he was losing by 10 points with about 45 seconds left in the match.

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7 hours ago, JBluegill133 said:

I think it might be more of an advantage in some situations. Not sure if they are left handed at all or not but both metcalf and nato had a very successful left handed hi-c and I’ve seen a few of the penn state guys hit a left side headlock and be really successful. I think most people are used to defending something a certain way and when you hit it to their less dominant side it causes a little hesitation which at the d1 level, could be just the little bit you need to get the takedown.


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To me, if your best shot is a hi-c, you tend to get figured out and not reach your potential.

i may be wrong, but I’m coaching that way for the foreseeable future. 

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You have to learn how to wrestle both left and right handed. If you only hit your shots from being left or right a good defensive wrestler will figure you out very quickly and shut down your offense. J Robinson was very good at teaching this at his camps. 

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I am right side dominant but wrestled with a left leg lead.  The reason is that I got more power from pushing off of my right leg than my left one, meaning my shots were faster this way.  I have never and still don't understand why right handed wrestlers wrestle with their right leg forward.  

The only trickiness to a left leg lead is that a single leg takedown is going to be the main attack against right leg leads, which is most people. Singles can be.a bit trickier to finish than a Hi-C or double leg, 

 

My advice to a left handed wrestler would be to wrestle with a right leg lead...At least if his left leg is also stronger than his right.  

 

Also, say left leg lead five times fast.  Then, try to type it out five times fast. I can't. 

Edited by Billyhoyle

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10 hours ago, jcjcjc said:

To me, if your best shot is a hi-c, you tend to get figured out and not reach your potential.

i may be wrong, but I’m coaching that way for the foreseeable future. 

I dont understand?  Maybe you mean if your "only" shot is a hi-c

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