Your first competition match is around the corner and you have to be ready for it. Unfortunately you are never ready. Even if you’re ready you are never ready enough in your head to go through all of it just like that. One thing that I found out when I first stepped on competition mat is that sparing in your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class or any grappling class did not completely prepare me for my first competition. There’s a lot of other factors involved in your first competition experience like huge amounts of adrenaline, fear of the unknown etc. But it’s something everyone competing went through so why wouldn’t you. It’s nothing that scary anyway. It’s all in your head. So here are some quick tips on how to be prepared for your first Grappling Tournament and how you should maximize your chances of winning your first tournament.
1. Strategy – If you have a specific technique that allows you to get an advantage over your opponent, then you should make it the focal point of your defense. Keep in mind that you will not be practicing BJJ in your academy anymore, and will be competing against the best in your league. By designing a strategy, you will be able to keep your mind focused at all times. Think of it as a chess play, if you have the plays in your mind, then you will be able to act faster. And remember one thing, keep it simple for the first time. You have to “find yourself” in this new environment.
2. Visualization – Physical practice will take you so far, there will come a point where you will be required to visually play each move in your head, and plan a counter defense. This will help set your brain on alert, and you will be able to react faster, as your body will start to perceive your action as a reflex. In addition, you will be able to move around faster and respond in a more effective and efficient way. Try to think down to the last detail, as it will help you factor in all the important elements.
3. Confidence – Just because you are walking into your first tournament, does not mean you should lack in confidence in any way. Which is why try to practice a routine, that will help you calm down your nerves, allowing you to appear more confident. Keep in mind that appearance will get your halfway through. So keep your head up, and look your opponent in the eye. Once you start to believe in yourself, you will be able to offer your best performance.
4. Nutrition – Start practicing a healthy diet weeks before the tournament starts, as this will allow you to adjust your body accordingly. Keep in mind that you need to eat according to your training needs. In addition, keep yourself hydrated throughout the training process, and on the day of the tournament. Try to stick to water, and completely avoid drinks that contain a high dose of sugar. As they will bring down your energy levels, and make you feel worn out. Try to eat Granola bars, bananas, and other energy bars to keep your body fueled.
5. Relaxation – Try to rest and relax a day before the tournament, so your body has recovered from the back to back training sessions. Try to go out and have some fun, without thinking too much about the tournament. Keep in mind that if you are well rested, you will be able to perform better. As you have trained hard there is nothing else you can do at this point. So clear your head from all BJJ thoughts, and try to spend a low-key day with your family and friends.