This might sound like common sense but it might help you to improve your guard. Itís all about mapping out the position. Trust me, if you put the effort into doing instead of just trying anything that comes up, this you will improve dramatically.
Here are the steps:
1. Find out what you're favourite guard position is.
2. Work out how to get there from knees when starting head-to-head.
3. Work your controls from this position and notice your opponentís reactions.
4. Whatís your favourite submission?
5. Work that submission and learn your opponents counters
6. Learn how to recover from failed attempts.
7. Work on sweeps and submissions from the failed attempts or opponentís counters.
8. Repeat until you have the position mapped out.
Description with examples:
1. Let's say I want to work my Spider guard.
2. To work my guard I need to know how to get there without getting it passed straight away. For spider guard I control his right sleeve with my left hand and grab his left pants at the knee with my right hand. Step up with my left knee going into his chest and fall back to either sweep him to my left or to just get straight into my guard position.
3. For a week or a month, depending on how long it takes you to feel comfortable, just work on controlling the opponent from this position. Push him and pull him. With the spider guard you might want to watch his reactions to you trying to sweep with your left leg in his bicep (Which foot does he put up? Which way does he turn his body?), or push with your feet in his hips to stop him putting his weight on you. Again, watch your opponentís reactions. Work out some basic counters to him passing this position e.g. when he tries to sprawl and grab your head to pull himself around, make sure you block his free arm.
4. Say I want to work the triangle from this position.
5. I use the knowledge I gained from just working the controls. I then start attempting my triangles. For example, I off-balance him first, then go for the triangle. Donít wait for the perfect opportunity. This is about mileage (youíre trying to learn, not win) so make lots of attempts.
6. If the attempt fails, take note of your opponentís reactions and work on recovering back to your guard.
7. When your opponent learns to keep good posture which makes it hard for you to triangle him, but tries to counter your spider guard by bringing his arm to the inside, youíre your omoplata.
8. Continue until you have something for when he puts his weight on you, when he moves to the left, when he moves to the right, when he tries to back out, when he tries to stand.
Do this with each position if you want to get better.