With the International and National BJJ tournament season having just kicked off for 2014, we wanted to share with all our supporters some big and easily avoided mistakes that robcompetitors of a better tournament experience.

Tournaments are demanding events whether you are a white belt or a black belt. But just like training, they can produce fantastic results for your learning and development. The best way to enter a tournament is to be as prepared both mentally and physically as you can be. This way, you will know that you did in fact give it your best shot and didn’t cheat yourself short of your possible potential and didn’t waste your time and money entering in the first place.

Not making weight.

People spend a lot of time worrying about their weight in Jiu Jitsu when it comes to competition. If you know you will be going to a competition and want to fit into a lower weight division you can plan with your coaches and trainers to drop weight in a reasonable way and not just two days before the competition. First, find out if you can weigh in the night before the competition, the morning of, or right before your match. Determine how much weight you have to loose. If there is a question of your weight when it comes down to the last day to sign up, would you rather compete or risk getting disqualified because you didn’t make weight? You might want to think about staying in your current weight division. There days in competition there are no ‘go agains’ for those who do not make weight the first time.

Making too many changes in your preparation to close to competition.

Humans are creatures of habit, so whatever habits you have developed that have served you well going in to competitions before, there is no reason to change everything all at once in the hopes that it will bring better results.

Not warming up properly before your matches.

Muscles only work well when they are warm. An indication of muscles being properly warm is sweating. The best way to warm up for any activity is by doing movements of that activity slowly and with no resistance and building up the intensity until you are fully prepared to action at the ‘combat’ command. These warm ups can be full body movements, joint rotations, isometrics, moving with a partner, and foam rolling. Think of your warm up before a jiu jitsu class. Your warm up for comps should end up being at very least as strenuous and even more comprehensive.

Not recovering between your matches.

For tips on recovery breathing see our upcoming article on Breathing and Jiu Jitsu. Between your matches remember to drink water or a non-sugary sports drink- but sip it don’t guzzle! Don’t let yourself get cold either. Keep moving, and if you need to throw on a hoodie as your watch the other competitors in your bracket compete and keep your mind on your game.

Not having a game plan.

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. While things may not always go as planned, least of all in matches, having a plan is inordinately helpful. Your plan should be a well linked strategy of the things you are best at with the best and easiest outcome for you. These are the things you should have prepared most- it is what is most available to you and the rest can go from there.

Not having a coach/not listening to your coach.

Sometimes being without your regular coach can’t be avoided. But having someone specifically in your corner can be incredibly helpful. A guiding voice in your corner can give you that extra incentive. They also have an outside perspective on what’s happening in your match. It may take you more than one tournament to be able to hear your coach over the rush of everything that’s happening but it is a skill worth working on. Just remember that listening to your opponents coach as well can be just as helpful!

Not resting properly before hand.

Save the celebrating with team mates and friends till after the comp. A relaxing and restive evening before a tournament is always the best way to have more energy for tomorrow’s efforts.

Avoiding these mistakes is fairly easy and will help give you the best experience possible on the day of the tournament.