Are My Coaches Holding Me Back?

Recently, a Jiu-Jitsu Times reader contacted me with the following question:

I train at a good gym but my coaches are not consistently around and rarely attend tournaments.  I love the people around me and I respect my coaches but I’m trying to reach a high level and I’m struggling to feel like I can get there without coaches being there.

Is it mental weakness on my part or is my feeling about this warranted?

Here is my response:

If your goals are to reach a high level in competition, you do need to be in the right environment to grow and support that specific goal.

A competitor who has dreams of medalling at the Pans or World Championships needs to be surrounded by a competition-focused environment and team mates who have the same focus. If your academy focuses on self-defense or is mostly made up of members looking for fitness or recreational jiu-jitsu, then you may not in the right environment.

No disrespect to your coaches, but if the focus of the academy is not in alignment with your personal goals, you may need to find a new academy.

More than one aspiring World Champion has made the decision to leave the small pond of his home academy to go to one of the bigger academies in Rio de Janeiro or Los Angeles in order to get top level training and be in an intense competitive environment where they have an abundance of like-minded training partners.

The great Marcelo Garcia did a similar thing when he decided that he had the desire and potential to pursue jiu-jitsu competition. His coach in the small city recommended that he move to Sao Paulo and seek out Fabio Gurgel and Alliance Team to take him to the level he now needed.

“Iron sharpens iron.”

If moving to a new academy is not a possibility, then I would recommend talking with the other competitors in your academy and organizing specific training competition sessions. Ask the instructors to supervise the training, too.

Align yourself with others who have the same passion, purpose, and goals that you have.

Read also on Jiu-Jitsu Times: 2 Different Ways Your Instructor Helps


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