Why You’re Not Getting Better At Jiu-Jitsu And What To Do About It

There could be any number of reasons why you’re not getting better at Jiu-Jitsu. One possibility is that you’re not practicing enough. Another explanation may be that you’re practicing the wrong techniques. 

Still, it’s also possible that your technique is correct, but you’re not using the proper muscle memory or body positioning to make them work. 

Finally, another reason may simply be that you’re not dedicating enough time to recovery and regeneration. No matter the reason, there are plenty of ways to improve your Jiu-Jitsu game.

Let’s dive deeper into why you’re not getting as good at BJJ as you would like, why it is so hard to get better, and what to do about it.

Why Is It Hard To Get Better At Jiu-Jitsu?

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It is hard to get better at Jiu-Jitsu because it takes a lot of practice to grapple with someone adequately.

Think about it for a second. When was the last time you had to do an inverted guard, a Berimbolo, or pull guard in your everyday life? I bet never.

BJJ is difficult to master because most of the underlying movements you need to execute a grappling technique properly are unnatural to us.

Take boxing as an example. Almost everybody has a basic notion of what a punch looks like. This doesn’t mean that they will do it as well as a world champion. But, they would know that you need to close your fist and move your arm somehow to strike someone in the face.

That’s not the case for things like a scissor sweep, a Kimura, or an Uchi Mata. You might feel there’s a never-ending number of moves to master.

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Where to Focus?

One of the hardest things about getting better at Jiu-Jitsu is knowing where to focus your time and energy. 

There are so many techniques, positions, and concepts to learn that it can be overwhelming. In addition, every rolling session presents new challenges and forces you to adapt.

A few things will help you get better at Jiu-Jitsu, though. But first, let’s identify some common issues that take away your BJJ gains.

Identifying The Problem – Why You’re Not Getting Better At Jiu-Jitsu? 

Several aspects might hinder your progress on the BJJ mats. Before we explore the solutions, let’s check why you’re not becoming a world-class grappler. 

1. Overtraining Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu can be pretty addictive once you get the basics and see some success. Don’t fall for the over-training trap. More training doesn’t always translate to more progress.

Understanding your mental and physical limitations will be essential for your long-term BJJ growth. Aim for quality over quantity and consistency over intensity.

 The result of overtraining is that you’ll often lose your motivation to train. Furthermore, overtraining causes you to lose muscle mass and strength and will lead to a decrease in performance in other aspects of life. 

You should avoid overtraining at all costs, as it might be one of the main reasons why you’re not getting better a Jiu-Jitsu.

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2. Lack of mat time – Skipping BJJ Class Often

If you’re not practicing often enough, you may feel like losing a step.

I would recommend training consistently at least once a week but twice is even better. However, if you can push it, the sweet spot would be at least three times a week.

If your schedule doesn’t allow that much mat time, find someone to train with on your off days. 

This way, you can keep your skills sharp when it comes to technique and position awareness without competing in live rolling. 

BJJ is about learning how to apply basic techniques in different positions or against various types of people under pressure. If you’re not putting in consistent quality training, forget about becoming a decent grappler.

3. Being At The Wrong Gym

If you’re not training with the right people, your BJJ game will not improve. 

Many people have all the enthusiasm in the world but land at the wrong gym. There’s nothing worst than training in a gym with a lousy environment. 

It would be best to avoid Jiu-Jitsu gyms with overly aggressive training partners and rude teachers with questionable credentials.  

Do your research before joining and go for a free lesson. Keep looking or asking online for reputable gyms in your area if something feels off. 

Two things might happen at the wrong gym:

  • You learn crappy technique from someone that isn’t qualified.
  • You might get injured for training in an unnecessarily aggressive environment (Especially as a newbie).

4. Poor Lifestyle Choices

There’s a lot of evidence to support the theory that the food you eat has the most significant impact on your overall health and fitness. 

If you are eating poorly and not getting enough sleep, it will be hard to perform at your best when you hit the BJJ mats.

Drugs and alcohol would also lead to a decrease in mat performance, especially during rolling sessions. 

Getting good quality sleep will help you recover faster between training sessions. Make sure you’re eating a healthy meal before BJJ class as well.

5. You Don’t Have A Plan For Progression

If you don’t have a plan for progressing, there’s a good chance that your Jiu-Jitsu game will stagnate.

How do you know what to work on and practice next? First, figure out which techniques are your weakest points. 

Start with the most basic positions and work your way up. Focus on improving the grappling skills that give you an advantage over the competition.

Now that you have explored some reasons for your lack of progress on the mats. Let’s see what you can do about it.

The Steps You Need To Get Better At Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Not Getting Better At Jiu-Jitsu? - What To Do

There are five basic steps you can take to get better at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

1. Truly master the basics

Make sure you understand all the basic techniques and required movements before progressing to more advanced moves. 

If you don’t know how to escape bottom side control, sweep someone from the close guard or essential guard passing principles. There’s a good chance you will never submit anyone and spend a lot of your time trapped in bad positions. 

2. Drill, drill, drill. 

Practice your techniques as often as possible. The more you drill, the better you will become. Buy a grappling dummy if you have the budget to add more drilling miles at home. 

3. Compete in a local BJJ tournament. 

Competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments can be a great way to test and improve your skills. Here are some of the benefits of competing in BJJ tournaments:

  • You will learn how to deal with pressure.
  • You will learn how to handle difficult situations.
  • You will learn how to stay calm under pressure.
  • You will learn how to think on your feet.
  • You will learn how to react quickly in a fight.

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4. Take Notes Or Do Mind Mapping

Keep a notebook near you and make notes when off the mats. If you’re in a match, take notes on how your opponent moves and reacts to your attacks after. 

Do mind mapping when you’re watching online BJJ matches. Try to identify patterns in your training partners’ winning strategies by mapping the positions on paper.

Once you’ve identified the patterns, try to recreate them on the mat and see if they work for you or not.

Furthermore, start mapping your own game. Last time you had success on the mats, how did you get there? Reverse engineer your submission path and keep sharpening that sequence that got you there. 

You can download our BJJ worksheet to help you understand your game better.

5. Finding a training partner or coach who can help you improve

Finding a training partner or coach is crucial in improving your ability on the mats.

A good training partner can help push you to achieve your goals and provide support and motivation when you need it most. They can also offer helpful tips and advice and help keep you accountable.

When choosing a training partner, it’s essential to find someone who has similar goals to you and who shares your passion for BJJ. 

Taking Advantage Of Private Lessons

A set of private lessons with a BJJ coach can provide even more benefits than a training partner. They can help you train smarter, not harder. They will also focus on helping you build up your foundation. 

A coach that gives you private lessons is not the cheapest option, but if you’re a motivated student, you might be able to exchange work in their gym for a few private lessons here and there. 

Why You’re Not Getting Better At BJJ – Final Ideas

It would help if you were patient and relentless. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a skill you should constantly work on as it’s continually changing. 

It takes hours of consistent drilling to develop basic moves or techniques. Support your training with consistency and volume. Make sure you eat healthily, get enough rest, and stick with the right training partners to get better at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

If you’re doing most of the things we mentioned in this article, It would be best to give your mind and body time to process all the hard work you’re putting in day in and day out. You will not get good at BJJ in a short time. 

One day, out of nowhere, you’ll find yourself executing techniques and moves you drilled but never landed in sparring before. 

Don’t forget to share and comment. Until next time.

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