Even If You’re Not The One Competing, Show Up To Support Your Teammates

Flickr/Creative Commons: Richard Presley

Jiu-jitsu competitions can be a lot, with early mornings, stressful days, and late departures all par for the course for both local and major tournaments. Many tournaments also have minimal seating and uncertain start times, and while these things can be overlooked fairly easily if you’re a competitor, they can be a massive deterrent for spectators.

Although the standard BJJ tournament is rarely the ideal place to pass a precious day of the weekend, spending a few bucks and a few hours to watch your teammates put forth their best effort is indeed a worthy way to spend your time.

Usually, even first-time competitors will be fine, emotionally, as long as they have their coach in their corner. But if you’ve ever competed before, you probably know that there’s a big difference between stepping onto the mats with silence in your corner and walking out to the sound of cheers from your teammates. Victory is so much sweeter when it’s accompanied by a dozen hugs from your training partners, and the blow of defeat is that much softer when it’s cushioned by words of encouragement from friends who understand your journey.

The emotional aspect isn’t the only reason you should show up as a supporter and spectator, though. Your coach can only be in one place at a time, and your competing teammates may need your assistance in warming up, reviewing techniques or strategies, or simply retrieving their water bottle after a hard match. Little stressors during the day add up, and having more hands on deck to ensure that competitors only need to think about competing can be extremely helpful for your teammates.

If the simple ability to be there for your teammates isn’t enough to convince you to show up, consider what you might get out of the experience. If you’ve never competed before, this might be the perfect opportunity to see what the competition scene is about without having to jump in head-first. You can also scope out your division and see what you might be dealing with if you decided to enter the next tournament. If you have competed before, this is still a good chance to pick up some motivation and strategy for your next tournament. Plus, simply being in a competitive atmosphere and cheering on your teammates can give you a rush of excitement without the nervousness that comes with having to compete that same day.

While your coach probably won’t force you to show up to support your teammates if you’re not competing, it’s still a great thing to do both for your training partners’ sake and yours. Even if you can only stay for a couple hours, your presence could mean the world to someone who just needs a bit of extra encouragement (or a little help stretching). Being a part of a culture of supportive teammates is beneficial for you, your gym, and the jiu-jitsu community as a whole. The memories you create together will be well worth the effort, and there’s no doubt that your support will mean the world to your training partners.


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