So your technique is spot-on during training! You’re making great progress, that’s fantastic. But as soon as you hit the competition mats… Your technique dissolves into thin air.
Why does this happen? How is it possible to perform really good in training, and then to falter like a two-week white belt in competition?
There are three main reasons.
YOUR NERVES ARE GETTING THE BEST OUT OF YOU
Perhaps the most important reason for your technique’s failure in competition are your nerves. You’re nervous before your first, second, or whichever other match. You’re tense… And if you’re tense, you won’t be able to perform at the highest of levels.
Just think back to your first couple of months training. You were probably stiff as a board. And when did you start noticing a lot of progress? That’s right – once you’ve learned how to relax.
Learning how to relax in competition will only come with more, well, competition! You need experience under your belt.
This up-and-coming experience will also grant you an ability to deal with the excess of adrenaline you’ll feel prior and during your matches.
Long story short: aside from your skill and dedication to training, competition experience is the most important currency for your wins or losses in matches!
NO „TAPER“ WEEK
The next biggest culprit for your techniques’ lack of optimal performance is that you don’t include a taper week before competition! In other words: you aren’t resting properly beforehand.
You really won’t be able to achieve much during that week prior to the tournament. All of the preparation you’ve done, all of the hard training, all of those reps… You can’t make up for the lack of those in the last few days!
And not just because it’s impossible to make any significant progress in 7 days; but also because you need rest before competition.
You should continue training, of course, but at much less intensity than usual. This will give your body an opportunity to rejuvenate itself, to repair everything that might need repairing (or would otherwise end in injury), and to stay ready for the upcoming competition.
If you don’t rest, your reaction time will be significantly slower – and so will your techniques.
Therefore, from your next competition onward, introduce the taper week. Trust us… Your technique will be much more refined when you roll.
LACK OF A TECHNIQUE GAME PLAN
Here’s the thing. Your techniques can be as perfect as they can get during training, and you can submit as many of your training partners with them that you want. But if you can’t tie those techniques together, so that one serves purpose to another… You’re not going to have a great time in competition.
It’s not just about how good your techniques are, but about how well they work together as well!
Therefore, as you’re approaching the date of your competition, you should begin to focus on designing a game plan for it. Don’t think just about further refining the techniques you’re already good at, nor just about the stuff you absolutely need to improve in… But put a lot of effort into developing the sequences of techniques – all the way from standing up towards the submission – that you’ll tie in together when you compete.
All in all, the most important piece of advice you can hear for becoming more efficient with your techniques in competition is to continue competing. Just keep going.
Combine that with proper rest, as well as with a sound game plan… And your technique might end up being better in competitions than it is during your training!