What is the most neglected part of many jiu-jitsu students training? Behind training standup, drilling is often neglected in favor of rolling.
Rolling is perhaps the most fun part of jiu-jitsu and a chance to see if you can realistically apply your techniques against a fully resisting opponent. It is NOT however the best way to ADD a new position to your jiu-jitsu.
When you have learned a new technique and first try it out in live rolling it is unlikely to be successful. You have not acquired enough skill to apply it correctly and your opponent can counter it. This can discourage you from trying it again.
Before going live with that new technique you should drill it with a partner for many repetitions to burn it into your muscle memory.
How To Drill Effectively
1) Get a partner and perform sets of 10 – 20 repetitions of the move before your partner takes a turn. Don’t do 5 reps and then digress into talking about a move that you saw on YouTube. Get those reps in!
2) Initially focus on getting the mechanics correctly. Each part of your body has a role to perform in the technique. Pay attention to the details. Fit your body in tightly, move your hips correctly, get the proper grips. Don’t worry about speed and strength in applying the move.
Applying a move incorrectly at full speed and power is not helping you. First get the move technically sound with all parts moving correctly. Then we increase the resistance in the next step.
3) Increase the resistance slowly.
Ok, you can execute the move well with no resistance from your training partner. But when you roll it will be a very different thing.
Start by increasing the resistance incrementally. Ask your partner “Make your body strong about 25%” and try the move. It feels different and you will have to adjust how you move. Then go to 50% resistance.
Secondly, add speed to your technique. Starting from a neutral position, perform the technique more quickly (without losing the correct mechanics!). How fast will you have to execute the technique in live rolling?
Once you have the mechanics down, try to imitate the same conditions as in rolling.
4) Positional sparring
Nearly every top level black belt I’ve discussed training with advocates positional training as a valuable method to improve a position.
Restricting your sparring to one position (ex. Pass / keep the half guard) will maximize the training time spent in the specific position that you are looking to improve.
In a free roll you might not even get to the position that you are looking to improve! positional training will focus your training time exactly in the position that you wish to improve.
After some concentrated drilling you will be ready to introduce that technique to your free rolling and see your jiu-jitsu game expand.