As I've mentioned elsewhere, the cradle is one of my favorite high school wrestling moves, and I believe one of the more effective wrestling holds. However, this is only when it's done correctly. I see people do BAD cradles all the time, and it never works out. I wanted to take this opportunity to correct some of those common mistakes, and make you all become masters at this wrestling hold.
#1: Going Across the Neck instead of the Face
The very first part of the cradle should always be going a cross the face (crossface) and firmly grabbing your opponents tricep. I have seen more than one person attempt these wrestling holds without first having a firm grip on the tricep, and instead just going across the neck. This always leads to a weak cradle, and almost never results in pin.
#2: Trying to Bring the Knee to the Head
This is probably not so common for those who have done the sport for a few years, as they will have had “bring the head to the knee” drilled into them, but to newer wrestlers this is a very common mistake I see. The cradle is done by placing your hand between their knees, then BRINGING THE HEAD TO THE KNEE. It's much easier to fight against the other persons waist then their legs.
#3: Using Your Arms to Bring the Head to the Knee
This is a mistake I myself made for a number of years, until I got this wrestling tip from an Olympic bronze medal winner: “Use your wrestling shoes”. Instead of trying to use your biceps to muscle their head towards their knee, simply run towards their head, using your wrestling shoes. You'll have the weight of your whole body working with you, and you'll find it 100X easier to get this wrestling hold.
#4: Using a Bad Grip
Once you have actually gotten the head to the knee, it's time to lock hands. I have seen many many wrestlers make a mistake at this point, by picking a bad grip. There is one grip in particular I recommend for the cradle, which I discovered after having to fight against it a few times (and failing many times). The idea is to interlock the fingers from each hand, like this:
This wrestling hold is ideal for those of you who are like me and have sweaty hands.
#5:Keeping the Knee Under The Opponent
The knee under the opponent is fine if you are just going for back points, but when I have the cradle, I want to go for a pin. In order to get the pin, you'll need to stop them from rocking back and forth, and also get a tiny bit of separation, so that their shoulders are on top of the mat and not on top of you. In order to do this, you should place your bottom knee DIRECTLY IN THEIR HIP. This will accomplish both goals, and help you get the pin.
Hoped you enjoyed this post on the cradle wrestling hold, if you use these tips to pin somebody in the future, let me know!