Not everyone is able to train often, and not everyone is able to roll hard every time they train, but there are ways to get the most out of your training. Here are five ways that I’ve found to maximize the potential of each training session:
- Roll between rounds. I’ve written about this in the past, but the less downtime you take when you train, the more potential growth you have per session. If you don’t really care about growth (e.g., are just doing this for fun or to stay in shape) it doesn’t matter, but if you are looking to develop as a grappler, the more time you spend training when you’re at the gym, the better.
- Compound movements. This is something you should discuss with your instructor first, but I’ve found it to be very helpful. I find a secondary and possibly even a tertiary movement for any technique I’m drilling and add it in. The ability to chain moves without thinking is what separates effective grapplers from not-so-effective ones. For example: if we’re drilling scissor sweeps, I might throw in an arm bar entry after the sweep. That extra second per drill helps me maximize the drilling time because I begin to form the coordination to be able to feel the available transition.
- Plan your rolls out. I personally like to choose two training partners roughly on my level or slightly above for the beginning when I’m freshest, then I work on one or two rolls with a newer student, and then the last rolls I generally like to select the hardest training partners I can find to test my own limits. This allows me to both work on techniques against different levels of opponents so I get to feel and gauge potential reactions, and it forces me out of my comfort zone. You can also communicate with your training partners to determine strategies you want from them. For example: if you’re working on passing the guard, ask your partner to play from there; otherwise they may have something else in mind.
- Ask questions and ask good questions. I wrote about this in another post. Another thing that helps me is having my instructor check the technique. Sometimes there are tiny details that I’m missing. Other times, my professor has seen value in a way I do a technique differently and has helped me pair it with other techniques to build my game. Asking smart questions is always helpful.
- Don’t waste valuable time. Far too often when I teach I look around the room and see people sitting and talking. When I ask them what they’re doing, the answer is often that they’re done drilling a certain technique and are waiting for the next one. When you’re drilling, don’t stop drilling unless you are receiving instruction. If your training partner has to leave the room for whatever reason, jump in on another pair of training partners until your partner returns.
These are just five ways I’ve found to help maximize my time training, what are some ways you’ve found to help you get the most out of your training sessions?