Translating being good in the academy to being good at a competition....

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by the_Dark Knight, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. the_Dark Knight

    the_Dark Knight Purple Belt

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    i'm sure alot of you guys might experience this issue, and no matter what I do and tell myself, I can't seem to get over this hump. I won't say I'm good or a great fighter, but I will say I can handle myself. I do fairly well against alot of guys at my academy, and give them a decent match. I know my strengths (atleast I think I do), I know what I'm doing, and I train hard. But come tourney day... things change. I go to the competition with a positive mindset, again, sure of what I'm capable of. And i get there and everythings fine. My match/es start, and at first I'm ok..but then something happens (wheter its a takedown, I trip, whatever) and suddenly I'm overwhelmed. I no longer think clearly. My adrenaline kicks in, I don't think straight, I begin to almost spaz out. I see the match playing out, I feel my opponents movements.. but everythings racing in my mind, that I don't move the way I would in the gym. I've been to a handful of tournaments, and have lost matches because of me not thinking clearly and eith losing good positioning or blowing an opening for an attack. I seem y opponents mistakes, and know in my mind how I should react and attack, but let it pass me by because I'm so pumped on trying to just hold them down and grind out points. My question is to alot of you more experienced competitors, is how do you get into the right state of mind come compeition day? is there a way to train your nerves, is there something specic that you do in training to help get you ready for the pace/environment of a tournament?
     
  2. 3dsmax

    3dsmax Orange Belt

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    Not sure whether you'll appreciate my experience level (blue belt with about 50 tournament matches), but I just do not get nervous any more. The first time it(being calm) happened to me was when I competed at white belt while nursing a cold. It was the reason I didn't care about losing or winning. You should want to win as much as possible but not be afraid of losing. You need to find positions that you can hold comfortably without using too much energy and use them to calm yourself down. Stop and think before continuing for 10 seconds. More thinking and less spazzing/panicking leaves you less time to be nervous.

    Let me ask you this - can you remember every single one of your losses and point out a mistake or series of mistakes (techincal ones) that made you lose? I like losing. Seriously every time I lose I end up plugging a huge leak in my game.
     
  3. village_idiot

    village_idiot Blue Belt

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    Experience will solve this. I know that's not the most helpful answer... but its true with all sports.

    The more familiar you get with competition, the easier it will be to perform like you do in your everyday gym setting. The quick fix is to enter as many competitions as you can afford/have time for just to get over the perception that its somehow different from what you do in the gym during hard rolling.

    Some people just get more nervous than others and never truly become calm in a competitive setting, but experience certainly will help.
     
  4. 3dsmax

    3dsmax Orange Belt

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    I didn't want to say this because as you mention it's the obvious answer, but competing more is the way to go. I ended up doing 4 tournaments in 5 weeks during this summer and the later ones felt more like training sessions.

    Just do it.
     
  5. Jim J

    Jim J Purple Belt

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    In additinon to competing more, do some training with clocks, score boards, refs and people watching during open mat time. Treat the matches like real tournament matches. Rolling all relaxed has it's place, but more structured matches are important for preparing you for competition.
     
  6. Sloth

    Sloth Brown Belt

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    I agree that experience is a big part of solving this problem. It sounds like you are hitting a point in your matches where things get out of control and spiral downward. The adrenaline hits and things get crazy and the reaction is to clamp and hold onto the guy.
    You might always experience that adrenaline and the dump afterwards, but the more experience you get, the more you are both able to lessen it and to deal with it effectively.

    I'm not the most experienced competitor in the world, but in my matches, I always get a bit of a rush and I focus on staying relaxed and controlling my breathing. I try to let the other guy freak out and get all nuts because I know he's probobly feeling the same thing and if he gets too crazy he is likely to be really tired afterwards. I think it's best to try to ride the wave of adrenaline, focus and relax and once it passes and you are in your zone play your game the way you would play it in the gym, with clarity and intent.

    Hope that makes sense!
     
  7. Freezing Winds**

    Freezing Winds** Green Belt

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    the more you do something the better you get.
     
  8. the_Dark Knight

    the_Dark Knight Purple Belt

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    thanks guys. I figured alot of it is the experience level... (since this summer Ive done about 4 events. Funny thing is...at my last event, I was nervous while my weight divisions were going on..but I signed up for the absolute gi divison (true story)..1st rd I got paired up w a black belt. At first I thiught there was no way. But then, the match started and I was able to control him a bit, I began to feel more and more comfortable as if I was in class. Of course the gym was empty by then.. could the crowd play a factor in my anxiety. I notice I kinda freak out rolling while people watch me.
     
  9. unearth187

    unearth187 Blue Belt

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    Sounds like your training is too soft, and then when you get in the competition and everything is finally coming at you full pace, you don't know how to handle that. For me its the opposite, when I go into a tournament it feels exactly like just another sparring session, except I know that I have to be more ready to tap, and also I can be more violent in attacking my opponent. I think you need to up the intensity in your training.
     
  10. Thrawn33

    Thrawn33 JUST BLEED Belt

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    You're not alone, I had a guy (Brown Belt) at my old (Judo) club that was LETHAL against anyone who set foot on our mat (BJJ guys, visiting black belts, wrestlers, our whole team) and was Coach's favorite randori partner ("He keeps me honest"). If he wanted to throw you, you went down or if he wanted to work on his subs, you tapped.

    In 4 years I've seen him win 2 actual matches (one against me, where I was winning by wazari before he woke up and threw me for ippon). Before Judo he never competed in anything, and never did anything in front of crowds. He basically suffered performance anxiety (stage fright) whenever he did anything in front of a crowd of spectators.

    I'm not saying you have the same issue, but the more you go out and play in front of an audience under competition rules, you'll mellow out some and acutally work your game and get better.
     
  11. the_Dark Knight

    the_Dark Knight Purple Belt

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    it does sound like we have the same issue. The crowds kills it for me, just the thought that their probably laughing at me, or saying "this guy sucks" really gets me.
     
  12. Thrawn33

    Thrawn33 JUST BLEED Belt

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    So go out there and play. Have fun; winning is secondary. And don't take this the wrong way: but strangers in the crowd won't remember your match very long, they'll say "well that sucked for him" and watch whats going on the next mat over. Unless you're fighting in the finals at a national or international level, random spectators just don't care all that much. Use that in your head, and it may help.

    Losing 75% of my wrestling matches in HS (where many times there is only one mat for people to watch; and they saw me get smoked) actually helped me in Judo 9 years later when it came to competition. I was so chill about competing that I stopped worrying about winning and just did Judo, it became like randori against a stranger, and I won more than I lost (till I got to the advanced division as a Brown, then I went 10 comps before I got my first win, but even then it was all fun).
     
  13. the_Dark Knight

    the_Dark Knight Purple Belt

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    true.. guess I just need to start going out there with a different attitude and perspective
     
  14. georgejjr

    georgejjr Black Belt

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    Its not even necessarily not getting nervous anymore, for some people its learning to get used to the adrenaline, or even feed off it. Gretzki apparently would get super nervous before each hockey game - and then go out and score several goals and play like the superstar he was. Lot's of other examples as well ... GSP in MMA for instance.

    Just keep at it, you will adjust. More than anything, just have fun. Think about where you want to be five years from now, and treat everything as a learning experience ...
     
  15. nerraw

    nerraw White Belt

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    Hypothetically speaking, do you think this guy merits a black belt, or should he improve his competition ability before being promoted?

    Speaking truthfully, what happened to this person? It sounds like he no longer trains.
     
  16. Thrawn33

    Thrawn33 JUST BLEED Belt

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    Sadly he no longer trains; our team was all military and he transferred to a station that didn't have Judo.

    Does he deserve a BB in Judo? Sure. 1st Dan in Judo doesn't mean you're a master, or even good in comp, it means you are a serious student, and I'd say he was. He was a great teacher, ran practice many times and his technique outside of organized competition (read: not in front of crowds of strangers) was flawless. I don't think I would've promoted him any higher until he started getting more comfortable in comps though.
     
  17. elbigsam

    elbigsam Blue Belt

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    Its always hard putting your gym game on the competition mat. I remember a match this year where I had hell getting around a guys spider guard. I normally slay spider guard, but in the heat of the moment I was struggling.
     
  18. DevinTheDewd

    DevinTheDewd Orange Belt

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    Go see a sports psychologist or read a book on sports psychology.
     
  19. BatBoyJG

    BatBoyJG Brown Belt

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    You have to get into the mindset that say's Fu I am gonna kill you
    I learned this tonight, I will never forget
     
  20. ElKarlo

    ElKarlo Steel Belt

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    I dunno, I have done wrestling, BJJ and MMA, and I am EXTREMELY nervous before each mach. I will literally pee out anything I drink, and be a poop machine as well.

    But in the gym I do really well, back in the day at fighter's training, I'd go toe to toe with one of the gym's MT guys who got 2nd place in the world. I thought that was fun. I sparred him without head gear, and have had my cheeks fractured, and m nose broken. I loved every second of it.
    But put some people in front of me, and I get super nervous. For my Blue belt test, I actually stopped sweating, and I was so stressed out I ended up getting a pinched nerve in my neck.
     

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