Many of us are not able to train as much as we may like because of other responsibilities, so it’s important to make the most of every session. Even if its just an extra 30 minutes of drilling before or after class it adds up and makes a huge difference. It’s helpful to pay attention during your rolls, so you know where your weak points are, and where you need to plug holes in your game. A lot of people find that drilling is also extremely helpful to make techniques more automatic, and to improve new techniques you want to add into your arsenal. Here are a few ways you can optimize every training session.
Train Gi and No Gi:
Many BJJ athletes favor either gi or no gi but it is important to train both if you want to be well rounded. Each will help to improve the other in ways you may not even realize until you start training both styles. Many times the style or technique we avoid is the one we’re not as good at, which means it’s the one we need to work on the most.
Train both sides:
There is a typical side everyone passes and plays guard towards which makes things more predictable. Throw off your training partners by practicing passing to the other side and playing guard to the less popular side. It will help you not be so lopsided and make you less predictable. If you don’t want to do the same sweeps to both sides at least have something you like to do on the non dominant side, and the same applies to passing.
Don’t waste a single minute:
Jiu Jitsu is such a complicated sport with an overwhelming amount of techniques. Make it easier on yourself and keep a journal of what you do every single day. Write down the technique you covered in class, things you drilled or want to drill, and the problems you run into while sparing. Don’t waste a single minute of mat time by lackadaisically going through class. The faster you address the problems in your game the faster you can fix them and improve your Jiu Jitsu.
Start a spare with your weakest position:
If you are terrible at back control, drill back retention techniques and do specific sparing from the back. Do not avoid a position when you don’t know what to do or you’re not good at it because one day you may be put there, and you need to have an answer for it. You will never improve a weak position if you don’t practice it and address the problem.
When you come into class be ready to engage your mind, and push out any other distractions. Jiu Jitsu is definitely a physical sport, but its very much a mental sport as well. If you are not focused the class will pass you by before you know it, and you won’t retain the things you’ve learn. This is where the notebook can come in handy if you have trouble remembering techniques, or if you are a kinesthetic learner grab a partner and drill the technique after class.
Make your spars count:
Make a conscious effort to remember what happens in your spars, positive or negative. The people you spar with can also have a huge effect on the rate you improve. Don’t always pick the easy rolls that don’t push you to that next level. Pick someone who is at the same level as you to test your threshold and make it a tough back and forth fight, then pick someone who is better then you who will challenge you and find the holes in your game. Use the easy rolls as a chance to work on your offense, sharpen timing, and drill new techniques. Don’t let yourself be lazy when you’re rolling with a lower belt or you’re wasting time.
Enjoy your Jiu Jitsu journey! Every loss and every win will teach you something, and every class is a chance to bring your game to the next level.
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