Whether you practice Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for fun or for competition it is important to always be looking for ways to improve your game. All successful competitive athletes use visualization to improve their performance. Here in this blog, you will learn some simple ways to apply visualization strategies that will help you get more out of your efforts. If you are not well versed in visualization training and start to apply the principles here in this article you will immediately start to see the results.
I could write a whole book on the idea of mental preparation for competitive athletes, but applying these simple strategies will get you successfully moving forward with the practice. If you are getting prepared for a training session or a competition, it is important to have a mental game plan. For example, going into the class you may want to develop a better defensive game. To prep for the class, you could think about all the things that make a good defensive grappler. Staying relaxed, not letting your ego get in the way of your performance, being responsive, not anticipating, staying positive, heightened sensitivity, and the list goes on…
If you are at a competition, what things help you to channel your energy in a positive way? Everybody gets excited when it comes time to compete. What is important is that you use this excitement to help propel you into your best performance. Everyone should have a prefight ritual, and in this ritual, have a system of actions that you do to maintain your focus and strong belief in a positive outcome. I will go into ritual practices in more detail in a future article.
What I want you to understand is that if you are just going to class or the competition without a focused systematic approach, you will never reach your full potential.
Understanding the Environment
When visualizing strategies, techniques, timed responses, or whatever it is that you are working on be clear about your environment. Being tuned in to where these actions take place will make it more realistic so when the time comes to perform you will have already felt many of these sensations. For example, what is the arena or room like? How many spectators are there? What kind of mats are you rolling on? What Gi are you wearing? Will your coach be there or another teammate? Will there be a warmup area? All this information will help you to feel more at home when it is time for the event.
As a Jiu-jitsu practitioner, you learn to become more aware of your body. This is important when using visualization. When visualizing techniques, the more detailed you are the better the results will be. For example, say I am using visualization to improve my armbar from the mount position.
-Grab the arm.
-Step over the head.
That might be better than nothing but will not get us very far. A better example would look like this:
-Elbow in hand deep in the collar to threaten the choke.
-Use the other hand to attack the opposite collar to make the opponent raise their arm and then walk the knee high to a staggard mount.
-Grab the opposite arm to prevent the opponent from rolling away.
-Cross face with the forearm.
-Shift the weight into the hip as you change to S mount position.
-Stay heavy and keep a solid base as you step over the head with control.
-Hook the wrist with your elbow pit so they cannot turn the arm.
-Lift your hips to make them tap.
These details will change with different energies, but the more detailed you can be with your visualizations the more precise your technique will become.
This plays a role in the performance and comfort level of the athlete as well. Is the crowd respectful or are they loud and aggressive? Do you have a lot of support from friends, family, and teammates at the event? Is it fast-paced where there is little time between the matches or are there long wait times from one match to the next? What actions do you implement in between the matches to stay focused and ready for the next? Did you travel to the event? Do you speak the local language? All of these considerations help to set the level of ease and focus at the event. Being well-prepared is essential to becoming a top-level competitor.
When visualizing strategy, it is important to have a detailed understanding of how you will strategically work your game against different body types, energy levels, and technical abilities. Also, how will you break down your strategic focus on how to deal with certain positions, transitions, or counter techniques? If you put a little thought into these ideas, you can see how the possibilities are endless.
To become a good competitor or Jiu-jitsu practitioner, you need to first always be the student remain humble, and look for ways you can become smarter with every moment. I hope that these ideas will help to put you on a path towards better results and possibly adds a new level of awareness to your Jiu-jitsu experience.