As a habit I try to show up to training sessions early and roll at least one session after the class ends. Doing this offers me some special benefits that I feel make the time spent well worthwhile.
Most jiu-jitsu practitioners leave as soon as class ends, and in some cases at some gyms as soon as class is over people are expected to get off the mat. However, if you are fortunate enough to train at a facility that allows you to stay after class, and that is open and available before class, doing so may be a game changer for you.
For starters, think of the cumulative time added to your training. Improvement in jiu-jitsu is largely affected by the amount of time one spends on the mat. From what I’ve seen the average jiu jitsu practitioner trains 3 times a week, and the average timed roll lasts about 5 minutes. So lets say you add an extra roll every class, that’s 15 minutes of extra mat time a week, which translates to an extra 13 hours of training per year. That averages out to one extra training session worth of rolling per month!
This also means that you will inevitably push yourself past your comfort zone. Once we have bowed out, most of us have cooled down just a bit and have experienced a bit of an adrenaline dump, similar to what we experience after winning that first match in a tournament. Re-engaging in rolling after that will help with the mindset needed to win the second match onward in competition. This is both a physical and mental preparation.
This can also be a time to do some training that you didn’t get to do during class. For example: if you are attending a gi class and want to do some no gi it would be impolite to shed the gi during class, but if you have a training partner willing to do no gi after class there’s nothing wrong with that. Similarly if there’s a move that you want to drill (maybe the move of the day) post training may be the ideal time to get extra reps in.
Talent and good instruction go a long way in jiu jitsu, as do favorable physical attributes and effort made during training, but mat time is the only true “secret” to getting good. The more time you spend on the mat, the faster you will improve.
This can also help build your standing in your gym. Instructors want students who care, and if your instructor sees you going the extra mile, they may be more inclined to give you extra attention. Also, it can help build your team’s culture of excellence. When people see other people rolling, they may be enticed to join the session.
When possible, spend extra time on the mat. Your jiu-jitsu will benefit from it.