Are You Too Nice In Competitive Training?

david frazer
Photo By: Stewart Uy

Recently I have noticed that sometimes while training, I’m too nice to people. You may sometimes find yourself doing the same. You sometimes hesitate with your positions depending on who exactly you are rolling with. In a way it is letting the person you train with determine your jiu-jitsu. This often leads to over-thinking, which just becomes a mental nightmare. 

Most of the time consciously being too nice or holding back keeps you from your full potential. This can affect the way you compete. Unless you have two completely different styles in the gym and in the competition, how you feel training is usually going to be in the back of your mind when you compete.  In competition you might very well feel like you will go as hard as possible, but you still might habitually hold back because of how you train in the gym. This is where we might see the competitive result of being too nice.

I have also found this might be more so when you train with people who you might believe to be better than you. Sometimes my mind tends to think just because someone might be better than me, I am not good in general. This seems to make me hold my own jiu-jitsu back and be “too nice” because my mind has already accepted the fact that I will lose and am not good enough! 

The pattern that most jiu-jitsu practitioners, including myself, might face is self-sabotage. Basically you are standing in your own way of reaching that next level you are aiming for or performing to your highest potential. To fix this, you will have to find what works. A helpful tip I’ve found is reminding yourself to not be so nice during those specific rolling sessions.

Keep in mind, this does not mean being a jerk in training. This does not mean finding someone that you know is at a lower level than you and going as hard as possible with no remorse. That’s just a form of bullying. 

But if you feel like being too nice is holding you back during even training or when training with someone better than you, you must try to get rid of that mindset. In competitive training, it is definitely important to go 100%. This does not mean being a bully. There is a balance between the two.

You might be in the habit of not wanting to upset people, but your opponent might not have the same habit. You might notice that they are not holding back at all when rolling with you. In this case, being too nice is pointless. It is only limiting your potential and hindering your progression.  At the end of the day, if you have good intentions, then it is for the love of the sport and just friendly competition while rolling.

You have to be your own judge with whom it might be that you feel this way towards. At the end of the day, this could be a self-limiting mental hurdle to surpass. It could also be why you might not feel “good enough” in training or in competitions. If so, be confident and don’t hold your own jiu-jitsu back just to be nice to someone. Maybe give this a thought the next time you are on the mats and feel mentally stuck during a roll with someone. I myself am still trying to uncover my self-limitations and improve myself on the mats every day.

Best of luck.


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