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The Manny Sanguillén system of offensive wrestling

Back in the days of the horse and the carriage (aka, my teen years), Manny Sanguillén was a catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates - and one of the best hitting catchers in all of baseball.  

In fact, despite being constantly overshadowed by Johnny Bench, he always hit for higher batting average than Bench and was also a defensive wizard.  He had a lifetime .296 batting average, the 4th highest career batting average for a catcher in the last 80 years.

He also rarely walked or struck out.  Unusual that he didn’t strike out more since he was known as a ‘bad ball’ hitter, often chasing balls way outside of the strike zone.  He used to infuriate pitchers who would expect to strike him out with a throwaway pitch, and instead give up a base hit.

He once shared the secret of his successfully unusual hitting style.

Here ’tis:

When he was a kid growing up and playing street baseball in Panama, “everything was a strike.”  You had to swing or you struck out.

As a result, he learned to hit the ball wherever it was – way up high, in the dirt, way outside, etc.  

And, all the practice of taking his cuts at the ball, no matter where it was, paid off.

Just as Manny learned to hit by constantly taking his shots, wrestlers who take their shots, and go for itin practice, tend to develop their offensive skills on their feet more quickly – meaning more takedowns and more wins.

Its why coaches (and parents in a lot of cases) need to let them use practice for practice – and not sweat giving up practice points.  The more you go for it in practice, the more quickly you will be scoring takedowns in matches.

You can discover how to ‘hit it out of the park’ on your feet this summer by training in our HS/Jr High attack system takedown master camp, or youth takedown master camp

In our system, you can attack your opponent 5 different ways using a handful of setups, drill to precision and test yourself at the end of the camp via our final exam.

go here now to check out all 7 camps we offer, including the younger youth skills camp

 for grades 1-3.


Why I don’t have pictures on my walls

A few blue moons ago a curiosity-piqued individual had a question for me:

Why don’t you have pictures of wrestlers on your walls?

He went on to spew this gem of marketing advice:

You should put pictures on your walls of the champions so everyone can see all the great kids you’ve trained, and can see all the studs who are training in your building.

At that point I had no choice but to Ariana Grande him:  thank you next.

Granted, he probably has a point – it would probably draw some people in if they saw all the studs who trained here.

A lot of places do that after all –  but that’s not how I roll.

Having pictures of state champs on your wall, when you’re training athletes like I do, sends entirely the wrong message – at least for me.

Its a first indicator when an athlete steps into the room about who is most important to the trainer.

And in rooms that use this marketing tactic, the message is clear:
The better wrestler you are, the more important you are.

And the more important you are, the more attention you will get from that trainer.

Get good enough, he will work with you.  If not, he will continue to ignore you and work with the studs and ‘hammers’, so he can quickly attach their star to his vehicle.

That’s why those pictures are on the walls – to let you know how important you aren’t.

As for me, I’ve always marched to my own drummer.

If you commit to stepping into my building and training with me, you are important to me.

Case in point, last night’s training session featured numerous state placers and state level wrestlers…as well as first year wrestlers still trying to figure it all out.

Every athlete got my attention – Every one of them.

When you step into my building this summer, you be trained by me and I will work with you – no matter your win/loss record or accomplishments.

You’ve earned it.

Go here to join us this summer


The ‘don’t touch him’ advice a 3X state champ gave his buddy
The ‘don’t touch him’ advice a 3X state champ gave his buddy

Long long time ago in a galaxy not-so-far-away, I was working with a group of kids, along with mixing it up on the mats with them.

One of them, I call him Jeff (although his dad calls him Jeffrey), a particularly talented athlete (ended up winning 3 state titles), had just scrapped with me, and his buddy was next.

His buddy asks him, any advice?

Jeff replies, Yeah – just don’t touch him.

His way of saying he was about to get owned in handfighting.

Every since I became a competitor, I’ve loved handfighting – and have seeked out winning methods from near and far to add to my arsenal. Through my years competing in high school, college and international style, plus an additional 30 years of training athletes (woo, that’s old!), I’ve carefully crafted a system of handfighting that has helped wrestlers stymie top level opponents for decades.

So much so that it has helped many a ‘lesser’ athlete control and defeat athletes far more gifted than themselves.

Which goes hand in hand with this fact: most of the really talented athletes are lacking in handfighting skills. It leaves them vulnerable to athletes who learn how to handfight effectively and can tie them up in knots as a result.

Case in point, last year’s Big Ten championships where I observed a top level former national champion struggling to control his opponent, missing wide open handfighting opportunities – and losing as a result.

Here’s how you can tell if you struggle in handfighting….

If you get out of position (head down or away, elbows away from body, etc) when the opponents:

  • Grab your head
  • Get a two on one
  • Grab your wrist
  • Put a hand on you
  • Get an underhook
  • Get an over/under

Then you are potentially missing out on a ton of points and wins due to handfighting.

Even more:

If you struggle to flip ANY of those positions to your advantage, well…

Handfighting Superiority can help you

Even if you’re not convinced yet that you want to wrestle the Olympic styles of freestyle and greco – joining the club to supersize your handfighting skills is more valuable to your wrestling bottom line than just about anything else you can do.

Its a big reason why Freestyle and Greco will help you accelerate your handfighting skills to higher levels that are nearly impossible to reach without them.

Especially in my room where:

  • I don’t take 100 kids or pack it in as tightly as possible
  • I keep the number of athletes I accept to a level where every athlete gets my attention
  • Have a question? I will always make time for you (stay after, see me at water break time – we’ll make it happen)
  • Our culture here is built around support – veteran wrestlers often help less experienced athletes with their skill (my training regimen is designed to make this even more possible)
  • Video training throughout the spring to re-enforce what was taught in the room
  • Freestyle/greco essential DVD that every club member gets (and includes some excellent handfighting in it even though I rarely talk about that
  • Systematic fast implementation training methods developed over decades, meaning you have an opportunity to retain important details at a much higher level than ever thought possible
  • A full travel schedule that allows you to test your skills against athletes far and wide, not just in your back yard.

Speaking of numbers….

Because I insist on working with every athlete, and only take as many as I can work with in sessions, I strictly limit the spots available in my trainings.

Further, we are rapidly running out of openings. If you want in, grab your spot now before its gone.


Tis better to have the luck o’ the Irish or the skill o’ de Snyder?
Tis better to have the luck o’ the Irish or the skill o’ de Snyder?

Top o’ th morning to ye.

Me ponders a question on this post Paddy day…

Which is better to have? Luck or Skill?

Well, being successful does involve a bit of both…..

For instance, being lucky enough to

  • Stay injury free
  • Stay flu free
  • Stay skin-funk-free
  • Avoiding slipping on a slick spot on the mat
  • Avoid wardrobe/equipment malfunctions
  • avoid tripping under a ladder while steering clear of the black cat on the way to mat 3
  • A host of other unlucky things that can go wrong

But its also true that the harder you work…

And specifically the smarter you work…

The luckier you get.

For instance, the luck o’ the Irish is likely to shine down on you more if you:

  • Are ox-strong
  • Have excellent hips
  • Are brilliant at handfighting (ala, every time they put their hands on you – your advantage)
  • Are lean and in excellent physical condition
  • Are skilled
  • Possess a great mental game (wrestle with high confidence, recover from adversity quickly, pre-match routine prepares you to wrestle your best every match)

Back to the above question…..

Let’s have both.

This spring, while you are dramatically accelerating your wrestling skills, and developing instinctive hips…..

Now there’s even more.

This year we have added two new features to our Olympic Styles Program, Club Simpson:


1. Handfight Superiority. One day a week is dedicated to winning the Handfighting wars. Every time they put their hands on you – Your Advantage.**

**This is a Club Simpson elite feature. Club Simpson athletes will have the option of joining us for Handfight Superiority every other week).

Get the edge on rival clubs, teams, and opponents – beat them as soon as they make contact with you.

2. Strength Blast – Built right in to training to help you gain your own ox-strength

Apply now to join us while there’s still space


PS After carefully observing and taking notes at this weekend’s junior high state, as well as the recent High School state……and studying our adversaries and rival clubs….

I have some very specific game plans in which to attack our adversaries. Some methods these clubs use over and over again that we can exploit to our own benefit. I will start to unveil them at Club Simpson, which starts a week from Wednesday.

Break out with some action, I’m bored
Break out with some action, I’m bored

Here are some marquee matches from the state tournament I wished I hadn’t seen:

3 mats, 6 excellent wrestlers. I couldn’t wait for it to begin!

After one period on each mat….ZERO points.

That’s 6 minutes of wrestling from 6 of of the state’s best wrestlers without a single point between them.

Two kids crawling around on their knees.

Two dancing and not making contact.

Only one shot attempt in the whole thing.

I’ll reserve my suggested rules changes for another time (including: wrestler crawls around on his knees, ref starts counting. 1-2-3, stalling)

instead, my suggestion is for wrestlers to do this:

Adopt the Attack System mindset: put the opponent on defense, keep him there, and attack relentlessly.

Here’s a sure-fire way to see more action:

Take in a freestyle tournament this spring.

Freestyle promotes more action by:

  • forcing you finish fast and react quickly
  • Attacking and taking chances is rewarded not punished
  • Playing defense gets you beat because the sport is built to reward attackers
  • a lot of crazy-OMG action!

Freestyle and greco also require a whole ‘nother level of handfight to win.

Its why we focus on it heavily every spring, especially this year because….

I have a surprise in store this spring to elevate handfighting to an art form (details to follow soon so keep reading the emails).

There may also be an Easter egg of sorts here.

If you’re ready to have a ton o’ fun and see some crazy-exiting action (no snooze alarm needed), go here.


Observations from the Ledge
Observations from the Ledge

Gonna go out on a ledge this morning and share some observations some of my good coaching friends shared with me last night (names withheld to protect the guilty):

Why come to state and not leave it all on the mat?

Interesting to see how much closer the team score is when one team stops taking the other teams’ beat talent.

My kids who are committed, made it here and are wrestling. Every kid on my team who is vaping, didn’t make it. Several of them fizzled out in the 3rd period in districts.

(more from the above): Vaping is a national epidemic. Kids don’t realize there’s more nicotine in vape pens than cigarettes.

The guys that train in freestyle in the spring, know how to move. They win from positions others don’t. I wish I could get my whole team to buy in.

That kid did nothing. He used to get great angles on his shot. Now he drops to both knees and falls to his hip.

There’s a kid who’s pushing the action. He’s fun to watch and he’s winning!

That’s all for now, I’m heading back to the tournament now.

Good luck to all participants!


How you know it’s time to give up baseball
How you know it’s time to give up baseball

“I’m thinking about joining your freestyle / greco club this spring, but I usually play soccer in the spring.”

That’s when I popped this question: Do you love soccer and have a passion for it?

“Well…. I’ve done it since I was 5 years old.”

My reply?

Well that’s long enough.

Now if he’d have said, “Yes, I love soccer and have a passion for it” my answer would’ve been:

Go play soccer. Follow your passion.

There’s a difference between a passion and an obligation.

That young man was following an obligation.

(Some of my obligations include paying the gas bill and picking up my socks.)

Right now you might be considering whether to continue following a familiar path – like playing baseball for instance.

Ask yourself: is it my passion or is it an obligation?

Here’s how to identify a passion:

  • you just lost in districts and are passionate about going to state next year.
  • You want to wrestle in college
  • You have a burning desire to elevate yourself to higher levels
  • You are passionate about leaping ahead of wrestlers who currently stand between you and your goals

If the above apply, follow your passion here


PS. Lets say you really want to play baseball, You really love baseball! And you also want to further your wrestling.

What’s cool is, you can still train here this spring and also play baseball…or soccer…or track…or even field.

Just follow this link and join Club Simpson – our twice per week option.