How Do You Plan For Competitions?

Anyone who knows me knows I compete a lot. On average I compete once a month, sometimes more.  I do everything from small local tournaments, to super fights, to the occasional bigger events like IBJJF.  I’ve experienced a lot of success, and lot of failure, and a major determining factor in success and failure has been the efficacy and soundness of whether and how I plan.

Planning methodology should vary depending on the kind of tournament you are going to attend.  If you are attending a no-time-limit, sub-only tournament, roll without breaks for as long as possible. On the other hand, if you are going to be doing a tournament with a strict time limit, focus on scoring points and hitting submissions within a specific time period.

If you are going to be competing in a super fight or know who your opponents will be, research each opponent on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media to get an idea of their preferred competitive style.  For example, I had a match against a former opponent at Fight To Win Pro a couple of months ago, and I knew this opponent was able in our prior matches to shut my game down with a slick closed guard style, so I started in everyone’s closed guard.

If you know your opponents will be bigger or smaller than you, find training partners who are similarly built to your opponents.  If you don’t have access to this information, don’t worry about it.

Know your strengths and your weaknesses, and when prepping for a tournament, focus on hiding those weaknesses behind your strengths.  For example: if you have a weak takedown game, get really good at pulling to your guard of choice.  If your takedown game is slick but your guard sucks, have your training partners pull guard on you and practice sensing when a person’s going to pull so you can score takedown points as well as passing off the pull.

Have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C from every position in which you may end up.  I know that there are always possible surprises, but at the end of the day, if you want to stand a chance, you have to plan intelligently for foreseeable scenarios.

Drilling can be important because if you don’t have the acquired muscle memory that you can get from drilling, you may not be sharp enough with your movements to overcome your opponent’s game.  Drill moves that fit into your game plan, and once you get good at each individual move, practice flowing from move to move.

Planning isn’t easy, but it is important.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  And if you plan without practicing the details of your plan in training, your plan has a lower chance of success.  For the experienced competitors out there, how do you plan for competition?


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