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Getting Rid of Competition Nerves Part 1

November 11, 2014

bjj comp picWith the next installment of The Submission Series coming up in a week and a half, it is natural for those new to BJJ competition, or those that have a specific goal in mind, to be nervous about the event.  It is not uncommon for my students to get so nervous that they back out of the competition altogether, robbing themselves of a great opportunity for growth.


Through my years of competing I have had to deal with this alot, as a competitor, coach and now a parent of a student.  The nerves are by far the worst part.  I am going to give you 10 ways to conquer you nerves to keep you engaged in your match instead of freezing up.


10.  Build a Gameplan – This has always been one of my favorites.  I enjoy making lists of moves I know and how they connect together.  It gives my confidence in my abilities planning out my movements and my opponents reactions.  I also enjoy reading Sun Tzu the Art of War as it has several guidelines to build strategies that are extremely valueable.

9. Be Prepared – When you are at the gym, review your gameplan, drill your best moves under resistance and drill your weaknesses with less resistance until you feel comfortable.  Cardio is also a very often ignored part of training.  When you are nervous you are more tense and burn more energy.  Don’t ignore this area.

8. Start Small – This is the reason I really like The Submission Series.  It is a small event in my school, there isn’t a massive amount of people (like at the Mind Body Soul) and it’s less confusing.  Plus the atmosphere is a very Grass roots vibe, everyone is very supportive.  For many people, kids especially, this is the place to start.  Build up some confidence on the small stage and work up to the bigger local event and then the larger events you would travel to.

7. Great Practice for Bigger Events – For those that have a ton of tournament experience, these small ones are where you get to introduce new moves your are trying to implement into your game.  Got a new pass, sweep or sub you have been playing with at the club?  Well lets test it at the smaller competition b=so you can clean it up for the bigger ones.  I had one of my students work on a half guard sweep in a small competition.  He did the move and average of 4 times per match… great practice and confidence building.

6. The More You Compete the Better it Gets – The first time is always the hardest.  We remember many of our firsts, some are more fond than others but we often have to think hard about our 2nd day of school, our 2nd time we slept over at a friends house, our 2nd girl/boyfriend etc.  Tournaments are very much the same, the more we do it the more enjoyable it becomes.  Be committed to not compete just once, but to give it a fair try.

magnus match

Stay tuned for the next 5 ways to help prepare yourself for the upcoming event.  The next Submissions Series is scheduled for Nov 22 in both Edmonton and Calgary.  There are divisions for Men, Women, Children 4 and up in Gi and No Gi.  Beginners are always encouraged to come out.  Please feel free to leave comments or questions.


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