A barrel roll is a basic yet effective wrestling move that, when executed properly, will net your opponent up to five points (two takedown points and three back points). This can easily cost you the period or even the match, so it would be worth your time to learn how to defend against the maneuver.

Countering a barrel roll can best be accomplished by anticipating your opponent’s actions and shifting your weight to disrupt his setup attempts. His first move will likely be to grab your head to make you step forward and expose your far leg, so as soon as you see him reach for your headgear, do the following:

  1. Lower your center of gravity by bending your knees and allowing yourself to sag down. This makes you heavier and harder to lift.
  2. If your opponent already has hold of your near arm, you can try to free it by quickly pulling your elbow in the opposite direction or by thrusting forward until his grip slackens.
  3. Use your other arm to grab your opponent in a half-nelson, and then push your body in the same direction as his attempted barrel roll rotation. Because you’re now initiating the push, you’ll be able to land on top of him for the pin.

Like all other wrestling moves, learning to counter a barrel roll takes lots of practice and repetition. But once the above steps become second nature, you’ll have no trouble turning a potential five-point deficit into a pin, which can swing a match in your favor. This is a powerful counter to have at your disposal, so get to work right now!