Monday, February 14, 2011

Tournament Preparation: Should You "Go Hard"?

Tonight was much better than last Thursday. I grappled all of the same people, except for one or two, and had completely different results. I think the reason for the difference was two-fold.

One, I talked to Leslie about some of my frustrations and she reminded me of a lot of things I needed to remember like: I am still a blue belt and therefore I am still allowed to suck. I am not the only girl who deals with frustrations over size/strength disparities. What doesn't kill me will make me stronger. Etc. Honestly, just talking to someone who understands and who has gone through the same thing made a world of difference for me. It made me feel like less of a loser. lol Thanks, Leslie!!

The other reason why tonight went differently is because I went back to grappling like I normally do. For some reason, last week when everyone was in tournament-prep mode, I thought I had to grapple like everyone else was: going as hard as I could, using all of my strength and explosiveness, etc.

But that is not how I normally grapple. I normally don't try to go a million miles an hour. I try to move as much as possible, but I also TRY to stay calm. I decided that tonight I wasn't going to "go hard". I was going the be aggressive, but in a calmer way.

The result was that my gas tank lasted much longer, I was more relaxed so I could move more and I didn't feel the pressure to be a beast. Yay!

I don't like prepping for tournaments by going crazy every grapple. That's not how I want to grapple in the tournament. I want to stay as relaxed as possible. I can be aggressive without going as fast as I can and using all my strength. Honestly, I make a lot more mistakes when I do that and end up having to muscle--or try to muscle--my way out. And, considering my general lack of muscle, that's a bad thing. It tires me out like crazy, anyway.

What do you guys think? Do you grapple differently when you are prepping for a tournament?

One other thing happened too. Fabio saved my hardest grapple for last. On purpose. LOL. He is really trying to push me. I was so tired my arms and legs were heavy. But I resolved to stay lose and relaxed, even though I knew I was about to have a rough go. Surprisingly, it went a LOT better than last time, even though I was exhausted. Last time I was trying to "go hard" and was wasting a lot of valuable energy trying to use muscle and explosiveness. This time, I still tried to be aggressive, but I tried to focus only on leverage and sweeps, hipping, guard, etc. Not-so-surprisingly, relying on what mediocre technique I have worked WAY better than trying to match the guy's strength. I still found myself in bottom half guard or the "fetal position" side guard a few times, but not nearly as much as last time.

Tournament is this Saturday. Going to train tomorrow and, since I can't train Wednesday, probably Thursday. Then I hit the road Friday.


Georgette said...

Sorry I didn't email you back :( Just bad timing... I slept on the way to Houston and had a migraine Sat night so I crashed hard after dinner. Sounds like Leslie had you covered :)

As far as tourney prep goes, we "go hard" when doing takedown wars; lately they've been an all-women's group anyway (which is better for me as far as strength, experience level and size etc.) I find takedown wars to be immensely tiring and thus invaluable tourney prep since standup is always exhausting in a way that ground work is not. FWIW I never ever ever ever pull guard and probably never ever will, so your mileage may vary! My first match in the absolute was against a pal who like me, loves judo and wrestling and hates playing guard, so we had one of those "big man" standup battles the whole time. Oh once I get good at judo the angels will sing, but until then we'll dance around like trained bears ;)

When it comes to grapples though, I don't go as hard and as fast as possible all the time in tourney prep. Sometimes I do-- maybe a shark tank (8 min matches, with a fresh opponent in the last position every two minutes) a couple times a week for two-three weeks will get me to 110% effort. But in general I think the intent is not to train us to grapple that way in a tournament but to simulate the adrenaline dump, to force you to reach CO2max, to learn to push through your limits physically and emotionally.

Dev said...

Yay for starting to figure out your game!

I understand the idea of tournament prep stuff, but at the same time, you will ALWAYS revert to the game ingrained in your head when you get tired/beat up/in a tough spot. So when I'm prepping for a tournament?

If I'm having a tough time with a position, I'll get with a higher belt and have them walk me through it, or I'll have every sparring partner start from there and make myself work on it.

What I don't do is change my intensity or general game plan. I am a slow, reactive grappler. I have learned to deal with that. If you're fast and aggressive, then you'd have been doing that all along. :)


A.D. McClish said...

@Georgette: No problem. And congrats again on doing well at the tournament! I need to do more takedown practice. There is a girl at my school getting ready for the pan ams and, even though it isn't going to help me much for this tournament, I am going to start practicing takedowns with her. Generally, though, I am a guard jumper. I want to get down on the ground as quickly as possible. But perhaps if I was a judo beast like you I would like them more!! ;)

That makes sense about what learning to deal with the adrenaline dump. That got me in my first tournament. And I know my gas tank isn't where it needs to be. I kind of feel like it's too late to do much about that now, being four days out.

Oops. ;)

@Dev: You are right. I am more like you, I think. I like to be reactive and to work methodically. Going as fast and as hard as I could did nothing but tire me out. And I made a lot more mistakes when I was doing that. Lesson least for as long as my short attention span holds onto it. ;)

Thanks guys!!

Vidush said...

I think to go hard you dont have to use an excess of muscle but instead when tournament training just be continuously trying to advance, meaning from either breaking posture to getting a grip you want or even to just scooting under an opponent. Though you may use more muscle because if your training for a tournament you should insist on keeping advantages you have earned then you would in practice. So somtimes sure you have to use some muscle but most of the time just try to keep inching forward. I myself am blue belt 135lbs do not have much strength or explosion as my other male counterparts but as long as I dont stop moving and insist on thing that will keep me from being at a big disadvantage (not on my side, giving up a cross face) if feel much more prepared in the tournament.