As you get older, you might notice that your BJJ is not quite what it used to be: mainly, that you’re performing the techniques more slowly and that you cannot keep pace as you used to.
Understandingly, this can lead to a lot of frustration. So, let’s explore the factors that contribute to this – and what you can do to not only fix them, but to turn them into tools for success as well.
LESS ENERGY AND MORE STRESSES: FOCUS ON SMALL SUCCESSES
Let’s take on the most important factor first: you have much more obligations and more weight on your shoulders than you did when you were 20 years old. Back then, all you did was train, study and go out… Sure, it might not be in that particular order, but you get the point.
Having to deal with family responsibilities, your career, bills, as well as with a million of other, minuscule pressures can leave you running on an almost empty gas tank when you get to the class. But no matter the stress levels and the lack of energy that you may experience, there’s still a way to get better – and that is to focus on small, consistent improvements.
Form small goals for each training session you have. For example, you might choose to focus on something like not having your guard passed for the first 30 seconds of each roll.
This way, instead of hoping for some sort of vague progress, you’ll always have a clear objective of what you want to accomplish. That puts you in a state of training with purpose, which will lead to you wanting to train more enthusiastically and to achieve more; even on the days when you are completely burned out.
YOU ARE NOT AN ADOLESCENT ANYMORE – SO STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO THEM
To compare your performance to the one of your younger teammates doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. You need to stop measuring yourself up to them and start looking at the mats through the things which you can control.
The most common concern here is speed: „They are so much faster than I am!“ Instead of trying to go full throttle as they do, aim to achieve more control and fluidity in the execution of your techniques. This will not only spare you unnecessary injuries, but it will also get you to perform the techniques better than ever before – as you are now focused more on their proper execution than on doing them as quickly as possible.
Also, seek out positional sparring. By practicing techniques from a given position, you’ll be able to improve at a much faster rate than in comparison to always taking part in hectic scrambles.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
Nothing can hurt your Jiu Jitsu as much as an injury and unhealthy habits can. Those same injuries that took a few days to recover from can now take months, and all those cheeseburgers that you could’ve eaten without a problem back in the day… Well, they are taking a toll on your weight and heart rate now.
Choose carefully who you roll with. Do prehab exercises and yoga. Warm up and stretch regularly. Cut out as much junk food and other unhealthy eating habits that you can.
Finally, don’t forget that BJJ is not always about getting better by leaps and bounds. It is also about having fun and doing something good for yourself – as long as you have this sort of a positive attitude, you will continue getting better
In this video, Roger Gracie black belt, Nicolas Gregoriades gives some sound advice on how to adjust your approach to training as you get older.