Below is a collection of grappling drills done with a basketball to help develop the ability to generate pressure from the top. They come to me by way of another blue belt who collected them from around the web and compiled them into a single document. One of the brown belts I train with has done these for years, and it's no coincidence that he has the meanest side control I've ever felt.
Before the main piece, here's a quote of a post from the UG with some info:
"Learned this from Rigan Machado. Take a basketball and place it on the floor. Put your chest on it and roll forward slightly keeping your knees and arms from touching the ground. Press hard into the ball and spin on it. Next, switch from side to side for scarf hold. Again, it is important not to touch the ground with knees or arms. This is even HARDER than a moving opponent. When you get real good you can even grab the ball and pop up to knee mount (knee on the rolling ball), throw a couple punches and drive your chest down HARD back into the ball. You have to stay up on the balls of your feet constantly driving your weight down into the ball. You can also use a big ball to lay on and practice popping your hips forward (to simulate passing the guard). This is one of Rigans secrets guys. He doesnt just cross chest a guy. He crushes them. I've tapped guys out by doing switches this way. It knocks the wind out of you."On to the bulk of the drills:
The famous basketball drill for solo grappling training...
The basketball drill is great for positioning and controlling. It will help you develop sensitivity, and teach you how to spread your body weight over an object. I would like to introduce some drills to complement your Ground Training. The basketball drill is an excellent drill to develop Hold-Downs. It is said that Rigan Machado uses this drill a lot. However this drill is from an old Judo book called "The Secrets of Judo". This book is essentially a Physics book which uses Judo as a way to explain Physics (and vice versa).
Basically what you do is start from the Hindu pushup position (also call the drive bomber push up), and have the basketball just in front of your chest. You’re going to thrust your chest forward like your doing the Hindu pushup letting your chest roll on the basketball. Your legs are behind you driving forward as if you're in the North/South Position. You can put your hands behind your back when you do this.
Warning - Putting you hands behind your back is hell on your chest, so start-out slow. Begin with your hands forward at first. Later on you can place them behind your back as you do the movements.
Basic basketball drill = Chest-on-Chest
Lay your chest on the ball and put your hands out wide as if you are flying like Superman. Sprawl your legs out so the only thing that is touching the ground is your feet. Keeping contact with your torso at all times, lean your weight on the ball and switch your body and leg position as if you are switching to a different pin. Keep changing your body position as if you are switching from pin to pin. Keep your arms out to ensure that you are maximizing the body weight that is being placed on the ball.
Most of the time people practice-hold downs with the basketball they end up doing the “North/South” position or “Cross-Body” position. They apply pressure to the ball with their legs spread apart, driving forward applying continuous downward pressure on the ball. From there a lot of people will put their hands behind their back and spin around the ball. This is good, but not all hold down position is executed that way so it is good to change them to match other hold down positions like the "Kesa Gatame.”
Kesa Gatame = Scarf Hold (neck)
The purpose of this drill is to practice doing the sit-out movement while stabilizing your weight on the ball. Lay your chest on top of the basketball with both legs behind you, now roll forward. While on top of the ball, make sure your elbows are into your body with both forearms flat on the ground. Now do a sit out (switch your base), that is place you legs as if your doing a "Kesa Gatame.” Remember to keep your elbows into your body and forearms on the ground. Another drill you can do from here is to bring your leg back to the center and sit-out with the other leg so that you in the "Kesa Gatame" position in the other direction. You can also just stay in the sit-out position and circle around the ball simulating continuous holding with "Kesa Gatame.”
Koshi Jime = Clock Choke
To add spice to this when you sit out to the "Kesa Gatame" position, is to walk one leg over the other then move into a sit-out, then walk the leg over the other again (what your doing is moving in a circle, continuously walking over the top of one leg and then moving into a sit-out with the other). This simulates the leg action of the “Clock Choke.”
Here is a simple one for the “Mount.” As you're applying pressure to the ball bring the soles of your feet together so that your legs are forming a diamond. This is one of the positions you take when you do the “Mount.” It is also the position your body is in when you have the “Back Mount” and have applied your hooks and the opponent is face down. Aside from that when I'm in this position I do a few shadow cross chokes. It is kind of tough because as you arch you back a little to apply pressure (like you do when you do the cross choke from the mount) to enforce the power of the choke you can definitely feel it on your stomach. The pressure is so tough that you can't do to many with out losing your breath (this is an excellent gage of the pressure your applying because of the physic law of "reaction" that is, - for every force there is an opposite and equal reaction - therefore as your applying pressure to the ball the ball is applying the same force back onto you). Nonetheless it is a good way to work on the core muscle that are used when doing this basketball drill EXACTLY in the same way you use them when doing this technique.
Pretty cool trick
Speaking of applying pressure, another exercise you can do is with a basketball and a bathroom scale. You put the basketball on the scale then lay across it with your chest as if you had a person in the side mount. The scale registers the amount of pressure you exert, so you can make adjustments until you exert max pressure. You can switch to scarf hold, mount, north-south, etc…
If you don't exert the same or similar pressure in all positions, there is always room for improving your technique!!
Basketball Newaza Movement Development Drill
* Fully inflated basketball for each player
* T-shirt/Sweatshirt (remove Gi Top)
The primary objective of this training drill is to develop kinesthetic awareness through contact with a moving body. The secondary objective of this drill is to improve aerobic capacity. You may not use your hands to keep balance. Begin by lying on the basketball with your chest. Move around the ball to both right and left. As you move around the ball roll yourself over to rest your back on the basketball. Roll on the ball from your shoulders to your hips on all four sides of your body. Spin 360 degrees around the ball on all four sides of your body. Duration: Gradually increase the drill to match the expected duration of up-coming matches.
You can also do basketball drills for the “Knee-On-Belly” and even “Triangle-Choke.”