BJJ Coaches: Attentive or Lacking?

BJJ Coaches: Attentive or Lacking?


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructors have a very rewarding but daunting job of teaching their students the art of BJJ. Many adult coaches have to try to teach anywhere from 10-30 students a class on their own while kids coaches will usually have some extra instructors to help them. While this is not an easy task, there are instructors who excel at giving their attention to all of their students equally. However, most do not. There is a statistic that says BJJ coaches only focus on 20% of the students in class, 10% of that being the super star students who usually are high level competitors and the other 10% being the students who are new or just struggle with the techniques more than others and need extra attention. Now that leaves 80% of students who are left getting little to no attention from their instructors. If you do the math, in a class with 30 students, 6 students get the required attention from their instructors while the other 24 do not receive equal attention. Now this is not all the fault of the instructor. It is challenging to show help everyone in the short time allotted to work on the techniques in an hour long class. There is usually a warm up to start many BJJ classes and time for sparring at the end so that leaves about 30-40 minutes left to actually show techniques and drill them.

What is the solution for this dilemma that many students and instructors face daily at BJJ schools all over the world?  Do academies offer more classes so there are less students in each class? That might work but every student has a different schedule and the academy might not be able to open up any more classes than it already offers. The best solution is for instructors and coaches to make sure they try to give their attention equally to all of their students each and every class. I have seen instructors that are both great at giving their attention to all their students and ones that need improvement.

Do you think BJJ instructors are attentive or need to give more attention to some of their students? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Our instructor has told us specifically that the higher the belt, the higher the priority. He’s really fond of competitors, especially those who bring back medals.

  2. I think that trying to learn jiu jitsu through typical classes is like trying to learn to be a great singer by going to a choir class — it just isn’t going to happen.

    I think that the ideal balance would be for there to be a hybrid private-instruction, group-sparring setup where the class time is primarily sparring, but that people get private instruction for actually learning.

  3. I have thought about teaching three classes that start every 30 minutes: 20 minutes cardio, 10 minutes stretching, 10 minutes drilling, 20 minutes new technique, 30 minutes rolling. Assistant instructors can lead the cardio and stretching. Head instructor teaches teaches drilling and new technique. After drilling and new technique is finished the highest belt in that group of students manages the clock for rolling. When the head instructor starts to teach drilling and new technique to the first group, the assistant instructor starts a second class with cardio and stretching. When the head instructor finishes teaching drilling and new technique to the first class, the second class is ready for drilling and new technique. The high belt in that group will manage the click for rolling. This process repeats for the third class. The idea is that the head instructor spends quality time instructing students in a smaller group to help ensure that students are learning correctly and avoiding bad habits. Rather than have a head instructor oversee cardio, stretching and rolling, the academy can use their expertise for the most important and technical part of the instruction. Assistant instructors and senior students also get an opportunity to start learning how to teach and mange a class. If a class has 30 students and statistics above are correct about the percentage of students that receive individual attention from the head instructor, then this methodology could split the students into three groups and give a much higher level of personalized attention with no additional time input from the head instructor. When I have classes with 6-10 students, it isn’t very difficult to give personalized attention to each of them. If I have a student that requires too much extra attention in a group class, I curb the amount of attention they receive and encourage to enroll in private or semi-private instruction in addition to group class. I also encourage them to drill before and after class more often. Mat time usually helps these students move from slow learners to moderate-to-fast learners. Doing this helps me maintain a better time ratio with each student.


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