Maximizing what you get out of rolling
I was thinking about this the other day: how do you get the most out of the sparring sessions at your gym? I think this is an issue that should be adressed, because I feel like so many of my training partners are always "rolling to win," and while that has its benefits I'm not sure it's the best use of their training time. What made me think about this was one guy who literally locked me into the top position in side mount, while he was on the bottom. Afterwards I asked him why, and he replied "so you coudln't sub me." WTF?
Another example: I know guys with really good guards but weak passing games, that ALWAYS pull guard, and never try to get top position. This means that while their guards are difficult to pass, when they sweep me and I get to half guard, I often sweep them in return and get the sub. Shouldn't they be putting more time into working their passing game?
This is how I do it:
Training partners that I consider so much weaker than myself that they pose zero threat: I'm basically a nice guy and help them with everything I can. In return I experiment with new techniques or give them good positions (although I make them work for it) and escape. For example, there is a man (maybe mid to late fifties) who can't do anything to me unless I let him. However, for some reason, this guy has a hellish side mount. He feels like a ton of bricks. So why spend the entire session sweeping and submitting him when I could use that absolutely insane amount of pressure he can put on me from side mount to practice my escapes?
Training partners that I can tap if I put some effort in: I play to my weakness and their strengths. I.e. if I think someone has a strong passing game, I will pull guard, because that is my weakest area, and refrain from using the guards that I feel comfortable in, like half guard. This makes for a more challenging roll. Sometimes I get tapped because of this, but I feel it's worth it in the long run because it will make me more well rounded. I also give up positons sometimes.
Training partners that I consider my equal or a bit better: I will play to my own strength, which is guard passing. I generally roll more competitively, but with control, of course, because this is training not competition.
Training partners that destroy me at will: I go slow so they can observe my game, point out major errors and I can observe how they do things. I've learnt TONS this way. I always try to ask at least one question afterwards.
I also gradually move techniques up the ladder, so to speak. A new technique starts out at the weaker training partners, and I then gradually move it up until I start using it against training partners of similar skills.
So, any thoughts on this?