So you’re a purple belt now? Congratulations! You already fell so deep into the BJJ rabbit hole that you probably won’t ever be pulled back out; in other words, your love for Jiu Jitsu is sky-high! In fact, it’s so great that you’re thinking of transferring it to others… By becoming a coach!
However, are you really fit to coach others as a purple belt? Let’s find out!
A „BLACK BELT“ DOESN’T MEAN A „GOOD COACH“
Let’s begin with a simple fact of life: just because someone is ranked higher than you are, doesn’t have to mean that they’re going to be a better coach than you will!
That is to say, someone can be a really good black belt Jiujiteiro. Their technique can be crisp and always on point, and they could have a whole magnitude of competition medals and trophies. However, just because they’re great at doing BJJ, doesn’t have to mean that they’re going to be equally great at teaching it.
Teaching a technique is as much of a skill as learning and then applying it is. And some people are more talented in acquiring it – and utilizing it – than others are. Therefore, you should start by not comparing yourself to other, likely higher belts in terms of whether or not you should coach BJJ. You should only do it on the basis of how good you are at coaching.
PURPLE BELT IN TRAINING, BLACK BELT IN COACHING
So, yes! You can be a purple belt and coach others. All that matters is how much knowledge you possess and how good you are at conveying it. Quite plainly, you could be a fresh purple belt in terms of your actual skills; but a really good black belt in making other Jiujiteiros improve and reach their own personal Jiu Jitsu heights.
Therefore, your primary objective has to be oriented around learning how to teach. This means that, if you’re really keen on becoming a (successful) coach, you should dedicate time to honing your craft.
Observe how your (regular) coach teaches… What are the things that you think are the ones which help him transfer knowledge the most? Pick up on these clues, try to study his approach; and then try to apply it on your own behalf. Then, after you’ve spent some time coaching others, you’ll pick up on things which you could do differently, and even better than your coach does.
Equally, ask yourself: „What does my coach do, that negatively influences how I and others acquire BJJ knowledge?“ Then – as you may have guessed – use this realization to improve your skills.
In a few words: focus only on how to learn more, and on how to transfer that knowledge onto others. And nothing else matters.
BUT… I DON’T FEEL FIT TO DO IT
However, what if you didn’t choose to become a coach as a purple belt, but the situation sort of „forced“ you to become one? Perhaps your regular coach left, and you’re the highest ranked student there; with the survival of the BJJ academy becoming your responsibility.
Whatever the situation is, you’re now under a load of stress, and you’re doubting your coaching abilities.
Listen. Whenever you start doubting yourself, just go back to the solution, the one we previously emphasized: learn more. Try more. You can, most certainly, become a good coach. It’s just that you need practice, experience, and more knowledge.
There’s no reason to feel like an impostor! You’ll do a good job… And, as you progress through the belt ranks in Jiu Jitsu, so will everyone else that you’re coaching.