How many of our readers are active competitors? I try to compete at least once a month, and as a result have found certain things I can do to make myself feel more ready for the competition.
1.If it’s a points tournament, when you roll count points and advantages as they are scored. Being aware of what you need to do to score and the path to the next point can be crucial when in the middle of a match. If I am rolling “sub only” not really caring about position and just letting the roll go where it does, chances are my mind will not be ready for the pressure of a points match.
2.If it’s a sub only tournament, focus on position retention, focus on NOT getting subbed. When I’m getting ready for sub only I put myself in horrifically bad positions and try to work my way out of them. Actually I kind of do that all the time, I figure if I’m not worried about the other guy subbing me I can go out there and have fun at their expense.
3.Figure out which gi you want to wear and wear it (and other gis like it) to practice. This allows you to feel more natural while competing. It may sound like a small, insignificant thing but feeling comfortable in your gi is very helpful.
4.Learn the rules. Specifically, learn which if any unusual submissions are legal or illegal. For example: leg locks. Some tournaments allow some pretty funky stuff, and you should be ready both with some offense and some defense. Also if a submission that is in your arsenal is illegal, you may want to avoid it when rolling leading up to the tournament.
5.Get your weight where you want it to be (or accept your weight class.) Some tournaments require you to call your weight before the day of the tournament; others allow you to be whatever weight you want. I’ve seen guys show up at tournaments and get DQ’d for not being the weight they registered for. Dropping some weight can be relatively easy as long as you start in advance. Or you can just compete fat.
6.Develop a game plan. There’s an old adage that he who fails to plan plans to fail. This is especially true for tournaments. Have a plan A, plan B, plan C etc… Practice all of your potential plans, be ready to go.
7.Work on your standup. Even if you’re a guard puller make people uneasy on the feet, it’ll trick them into giving you good grips that they don’t want you to have. Work that standup or that standup will work you. Drill your grip sets. Practice sprawling. Practice grip breaking. All of these are crucial to feeling confident on your feet.
8.Be healthy. Sleep a lot, eat well (not necessarily a lot but nutritious stuff.) Try to be relaxed, stress weakens us, and keep your cardio in a good place. I personally like to roll for cardio and will roll up till the day of if possible just to keep myself moving and comfortable.
9.Pamper yourself. I sometimes will go get a massage the week of a tournament. I go out of my way to be comfortable leading up to a tournament as much as possible. If I am travelling more than 3 hours away I’ll get a hotel to stay at the night before to be sure that I am comfortable.
10.When possible go with a crew. The more people you have with you egging you on, the more confident you’ll feel. People always feel more confident when they are being cheered on. That confidence won’t win you the match but it’ll make you feel better while you’re doing it/
Those are just 10 tips that I’ve come across; do you have anything you like to do to get ready for tournaments? Also what do you think of the items that I’ve included on this list?