18 Tips to Help You Get the Best Experience Out of Competition
Author: Jason Scully
I try to compete in grappling tournaments as much as I possibly can. Why is that you might ask? Well it’s for many different reasons:
- The love of competition – The first reason is that I love to test myself and compete. I love the challenge that competitions present and after a good match win or lose I am glad I stepped on the mat against someone I didn’t even know. Competitions are fun for me and that is what really motivates me.
- It’s a true test – Competition is a true test of how all of your grappling skills come together. Under the stress of competition the true nature of your skills come out. There isn’t any lying to yourself or anyone else about your abilities. It is just you, your opponent, and your mind and it’s up to you during that time and in the environment to decide what you’re going to do with it.
- How are you going to handle the crowd?
- How are you going to handle the butterflies in your stomach?
- How are you going to face the person across from you that you don’t even know anything about?
- Are you going to remember your techniques?
- Are you going to freeze up, or are you going to stay calm and do everything you do in the gym and win?
Those are just a few of the tests that you have to face in competition and it is great to see how you would do. Competition helps to let you know where you stand in the larger scheme of things by giving you a realistic look at where you stand against other guys with the same experience level as yourself.
- The experience and learning – While competition is a test of your skill against an opponent you aren’t used to and in an environment you aren’t used to there is no such thing as passing or failing in competition. The one thing that does always happen after competition is growth
I have never participated in a competition and not learned something or gained a greater experience of grappling, whether I was to win or lose. Every time I step off of the competition mat I step off a better grappler, a better person, and someone who wants to work harder.
Now you may not feel exactly the way I feel, but I guarantee you will feel something. You may be angry because you lost, you may feel satisfied because you did better than you thought, or you may be pumped up because you won. Either way you are walking off with a feeling, and with those feelings you will analyze. You’ll analyze what you did right, and what you did wrong. You’ll analyze what you could have done, and what you should have done. You’ll analyze the way you felt, your conditioning, how the crowd made you feel, and so on.
With all of that analyzing you will grow. Sometimes it just isn’t the same as practice. With practice you do learn but you don’t really analyze that much because it is something that you do on a regular basis. You warm-up, you do some drills, learn some techniques, and you roll. You may think about it after, but with not much analyzing. After a competition though you won’t be able to help but to analyze what you did. This will make you so much better then you can imagine.
You will be pumped up for the next training session and to drill the things that you feel you need to work on as a result of your match and you will grow. You will have gained an experience that you just can’t mimic in practice.
You may want to compete even more, or you may not want to compete any more, but you will not be able to walk away from that competition without learning something.