Beginner's Guide to Tournament Prep
(A.D.D. folks can skip to the summary at the bottom)
I originally was going to post "Halp! I R Competing!"...but after some serch funxion, I realized that there is no "Beginner's Guide to Tournament Prep" thread...
...so here we go! I'm hoping to draw some of you veteran tournament folks into this discussion to benefit new competitors.
I'm your quintessential "BJJ Hobbyist". I've been training off and on for a few years, and I train primarily for fun and fitness. I never had any interest in competing.
Some recent life changes have remedied that, and for the last six months or so I've been training 3+ times a week, lifting weights, doing cardio, etc. For the last month, I've been training 6 times a week and following the Armstrong Pullup Program. I infrequently do cardio once or twice a week by walking max incline at a moderate pace.
Now, my instructor wants to promote me to blue...but having never competed, I want to hit a tournament July 19th before I change colors. He's agreed to wait to promote me until then...and if I do poorly in this tournament, I'm tempted to request an extension on my rank until I perform at what I consider "Blue Belt Level".
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
-My instructor is an insanely talented three stripe brown (he dominated a bigger black belt at the last local tournie)...but this is a new class and I'm probably his most advanced student. I would also be his first Blue Belt...so while I don't doubt his ability to judge my skill level, I don't have any other Blue Belts or higher to compare myself to.
-I'm a little guy (5'8", 150 lbs), but the tournament July 19th will have a weight class of 140-155. My goal is to hit the top end of that scale.
(A.D.D. folks can start here)
These are the specific questions I (and other new competitors) need help with.
1. How much training is too much?
2. How should I structure training leading up to the tournie?
-i.e. Work maximal effort up to one month prior, then taper down, and don't train for a week leading up to, etc...
3. What are essential facets that MUST be worked prior to tournie (aside from technique)?
-i.e. Cardio, explosive lifting, muscular endurance, flexibility, etc...
4. What are essential supplements?
-I'm currently on lots of Chondroitin/Glucosamine/MSM, Omega 3/6, Creatine, Ribose, and Multis. Considering Tribulus Terrestis and ZMA.
5. Miscellaneous tournament facts to be aware of?
-i.e. Long waits, mixed weight classes, sand baggers, politics, typical gear restrictions, etc...
6. Diet around tournament day.
7. Cutting weight.
Last edited by SuperGuido; 5/22/2008 12:06pm at .
Here are some tips from my wrestling days, as well as the stuff I've garnered from the 3 grappling tournies I've been in so far.
1 and 2. Train as much as possible as hard as possible up until the month before the tourney. A month out taper down the intensity to avoid injury, but keep it frequent. The week before the tournament mostly chill. Keep your exercise light, stretch a lot, don't do any really intense rolling.
3. Cardio, Cardio, Cardio. If my cardio were as good as my technique I'd have 2x first place finishes. Right after Cardio comes grip strength. If your grip goes, everything gets a lot harder.
4. Ask El Macho, I have NFI.
5. Weigh in as early as possible if you are close to the top of your weight class to make sure you can cut a little bit if you need to. It's not hard to drop 1lb to hit that weight class. Your division will always start at least an hour after it's scheduled to do so. Wear a cup. Always. Mouth piece is highly recommended, but I find them so freaking uncomfortable that I never wear them. I'm stupid. Sand bagging happens, I think the most common sandbagging is for people who should be the bottom of the Advanced division dropping down to the intermediate division to pick up a win. You don't get many people sandbagging down into beginner or novice because no one gives a **** if you win those.
6. Don't ingest too much sugar. Eat a good breakfast, take some power bars and some fruit with you to the tournament. The food available on site will suck and be nasty. Bring your own water and stuff whenever possible or you'll be paying 2$ a bottle.
7. Unless you have experience cutting weight already, don't do more than 4-5 in a week. Honestly I recommend no more than 6lbs in 2 weeks for people who aren't used to cutting. If you aren't planning on going pro, don't worry too much about weight. If you are 2-3lbs from being at the top of the weightclass below your current weight then work to drop a few lbs during the 2 weeks prior to the tournament. But if you are a 158 and the weightclass is 149 and under just stick to your weightclass.
I also like to map out my "Standard Gameplan" about a month before the tournament and get in a couple hundred extra reps of my goto techniques. Example is I like the situp sweep from full guard and I play an overhook to omoplata/gogoplata/triangle combo game from the bottom. So the month before NAGA I must have hit 300 situp sweeps and I was throwing omo/gogo/tris constantly. As a result I hit a triangle on my first opponent pretty much as a reflex, and hit a situp sweep on my second opponent without even thinking about it.
I still lost due to my grip failing, but my gameplan worked until I ran out of juice.
Here's a post from our forums at topgunmma.com:
our first grappling competition can be pretty nerve racking. It's naturally a very uncomfortable situation; your opponent's goal is to submit you, even at the expense of your limbs or consciousness. This uncomfortable situation is usually compounded by the anxiety of performing in front of a crowd. This guide is intended to help alleviate some of the first time competitor's nervousness by providing tips on preparation and an outline of what to expect on the day.
"A fight is won on its eve! Your success will be the fruit of good training and perfect preparations." - Saulo Ribeiro
1. Adjust your training a few weeks prior to a competition. Instead of adding new techniques to your arsenal you should be focusing on the timing and execution of what's already working for you. Bring your A-game!
2. In the weeks prior to your competition try to get in as much rolling as possible. Keep it safe, but be sure to increase your intensity. You want to mimic the pace of a tournament match. Also timing each round and limiting your rest period is a good way to prepare.
3. Three to Four days prior to a competition ease back on your training to reduce the chances of injury.
4. Do not train on the eve of a competition, in fact don't read grappling forums, books or even watch any grappling DVD's. Put the competition out of your mind and enjoy a day of leisure. Your body and mind need rest from all the hard training. I personally like to go for a relaxing swim or watch a good comedy to keep my mind off the tournament. This preparation will help ease your nerves and let you get the 8 hours of sleep you need.
5. Eat! And eat well! Don't let nerves force you into eating too light. I'd suggest having a breakfast like you would any other day. Put your body and mind at ease by following your routine. Be sure to bring food and water to the tournament too. Competing in a hypoglycemic state brought on by malnutrition is a recipe for failure.
6. Things to bring:
Your gear: Gi, belt, shorts, jock, rash guard, mouth guard, knee pads, ect.
Your food: Bananas, granola or bran bars, water and a power shake to drink between matches (I prefer a mixture of whey protein, creatine and Gatorade).
Slip on sandals, this will help keep the mats as clean as possible and promote good hygiene.
A clean towel or two; try and keep yourself as dry as possible in between matches.
A video camera and a friend to use it, the ability to watch your match is a welcomed tool when evaluating your performance.
A deck of cards.
7. Have a game plan! Know where your strengths lie and try to make your opponent play your game. Not having a plan is planning to lose.
8. When you arrive at the tournament find some space to do a light warm up and stretch. If you're allowed on the mats prior to the start, find someone from your academy to do a light roll with. I find this invaluable when trying to alleviate the last minute nerves and jitters.
9. Grappling tournaments are notoriously unorganized, expect to weigh-in and wait. This where the deck of cards comes in, play some games, socialize with your teammates and watch a few matches. In an extreme case I once had to wait the better part of 7 hours to compete in my division. By the time I hit the mat I was so annoyed and wound-up all I wanted to do was go home. Expect to wait and donít worry about it.
10. It's time for your first match and the most important thing you need to do is relax. Most first time competitors will overexert their muscles and gas as a product of their nervousness and poor preparation. Remember that in the big picture this tournament doesn't really matter. Victory or defeat you'll walk away happy that you had the courage to step onto that mat and face your opponent. I'll guarantee you've learned something about your game and maybe even something about yourself. Have fun and in the illustrious words of Rickson Gracie, "flow with the go".
i had a wrestling coach who told us not to **** a few days before meets/tournaments.
Because your wrestling coach believes old myths and not scientific studies which indicate pre-event intercourse improves performance. Bang your little heart out the evening before, just don't let it interfere with your sleep.
Originally Posted by Kintanon
Well, i don't rassle anymore, i do jits.
However, i remember before my last tournament "no, i've got to fight tomorrow..." to my ex girlfriend...(what can i say, "please love me and take me back" blowjobs/sex is the best ever)
Jits == Same. Get laid the night before.
Originally Posted by Kintanon
New pick up line "hey, i've got a tournament tomorrow, and getting laid is beneficial....want to ensure my victory?"
but yeah, how does it help you?
Helps you sleep better, floods your system w/ endorphins, takes your mind off of the event...
I think one of the reasons that wrestling coaches might be averse to their wrestlers getting laid is that it might distract you. I remember that when I was wrestling 12 hours a week, going and getting some instead of going to practice was sorely tempting.
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