I was listening to a BJJ podcast and this world champion said that to deal with competition nerves, they would switch to their alter ego which was a ruthless and fierce version of themselves. Another thing I remember is my BJJ coach telling me to imagine that I was Jacare or Braulio Estima (my bjj idols) when training or competing.
When it comes to competing, there is not a lot of things that a jiujiteiro can do „in the moment“, when he gets to the mats and the match is about to start. Most of that which is going to influence the result comes down to how well the jiujiteiro prepared himself, how much attention they paid during training to the areas they need to watch out for… Mostly, it comes down to how well they trained.
However, there will always be one thing that is readily available to each jiu jitsu practitioner in each moment, including the one when they step onto the competition podium, that can change everything – and that is how they see themselves.
Whether or not a jiujiteiro sees himself as a winner or a loser is a big step towards any of the two directions. So, why not see yourself as a winner? What’s more, why not apply the strange power of visualization – and imagine yourself as being the best jiujiteiro out there?
For example, think of a trait you wish you had more of (like “aggressiveness” or “expolsiveness”). Then identify 2-3 BJJ role models who you believe embody that specific quality.
To get even deeper, try actually imagining yourself as this person.
Pretending you are someone else can be a very powerful way to tap into new aspects of yourself.
Many famous athletes swear by the power of visualization, and for good reason: it works. When a BJJ practitioner can imagine himself or herself as going through the motions flawlessly and executing techniques without mistakes, they will almost always perform better than if they didn’t.
The reason behind that is the one of confidence. When a jiujiteiro sees and rehearses in his „mind’s eye“ the match he is going into and the techniques he wants to apply, his confidence bolsters – for he has now convinced himself that the match will go in a direction that he has seen before, the one advantageous to him and which he will be capable to take care of.
And what’s the ultimate, „steroid“ version of visualization? It’s imagining yourself as your ultimate competitor version; be it that you turn into your own alter ego that is ruthless, unstoppable and relentless… Or that you transform yourself mentally into the jiujiteiro you look up to the most.
So what does that mean practically? The next time you get onto those mats, in front of your opponent, use your imagination and see yourself as a top-notch, most steel-hardened and feared competitor that you can. The surge of agression which will flush throughout your body – and which is so vital to being victorious in matches – shall carry you to performing at and beyond your personal bests.
Try it! The mind can be such an amazing tool if we use it right, so why not take full advantage of such an amazing opportunity it presents us with?
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