5 Tips for a Better Competition Experience

Saturday the Endeavor BJJ crew headed up to Toledo to participate in the Buckeye State Grappling Championships. Any time I go to an event or competition, I like to look around, see how things are run and see how the athletes act. We run a lot of competitions at our facility, so I like to look at it from both ends: Event Host and Event Participant. There’s a few simple concepts that I believe are often overlooked and will help make your next tournament experience that much better.

  1. Bring Your Own Food: Especially when it comes to sports where you have to weigh-in, many of the athletes are cutting a few pounds to make a lower weight class and their first meal is all they can think about. The last thing you want after depriving yourself of food and water is to get stuck with the only option being a cafeteria hot dog. Or even worse, not getting to eat, because there wasn’t enough time to go get food. Any experienced athlete or coach knows nutrition is an integral part of performance. Set yourself up for success, relieve some of the stress of the day, pack your own food and water.
  2. Expect Delays: Very few competitions run on time. Even fewer BJJ tournaments do.  If they say weigh-ins are at 10am, don’t be surprised if they don’t happen until 11am. If they say your heat begins at 2pm, don’t be surprised when it doesn’t. Make it part of your plan to anticipate delays. If you get worked up and pissed off because things aren’t on time it’s just going to mess with your mental game and you’ll waste emotional energy on nothing. Not to mention, you being pissed off isn’t going to make things happen any sooner. Be ready to go on time, but anticipate delays.
  3. Don’t Be A Dick: Every competition we see it. Athlete’s talking shit to athletes, athlete’s talking shit to staff/judges, coaches talking shit to athletes or staff, so on and so forth. Nothing pisses me off more than people being dicks for no reason. Yes, competition gets you amped up and excited. Yes, you feel like everything is on the line and how dare they not respect me. The reality is, no one, other than your mother and your girlfriend/boyfriend gives a shit. And it’s absolutely getting you nowhere. There has yet to be a judge in a competition that goes “Ya know what? You’re right. I am a fucking retard. My bad. Let me fix this for you.” Seriously, you just look like an asshole. And outside of your “crew” literally no one cares. If you’re not in contention for the podium that has a cash prize that you absolutely need because your family is homeless and this money will change your life… then calm the fuck down, it’s just a competition. God forbid you miss out on the plastic gold medal, or that 3 month supply of protein. You don’t want to be the story everyone remembers tomorrow “You see that asshole screaming at that guy. What an idiot eh?” Be Nice. Be cool. Be Awesome. (Can you tell just by the way I wrote this section that it gets me worked up hahaha).
  4. Be Independent: It’s always great to have the support of your friends and your coach. However, if for any reason they aren’t there in the moment you’re competing, you can’t set yourself up to implode. This past weekend we had 15 athletes competing. At one point we had 7 of them staged to roll on 4 different mats, and three rolling at the exact same time. Your coach or support team may not be able to be everywhere holding your hand. Know where you’re supposed to be, when you’re supposed to be there, and be ready to kick ass on your own. You’ve been training for this, don’t forget it. And if things don’t go as planned, it’s a learning experience, you will grow from it and come back stronger. If you prepare yourself to compete and be independent, then you’re preparing yourself for success no matter what happens.
  5. Have Fun: I know this seems cheesy, but it’s the best advice ever. I get it, intensity might be your thing. More power to you, but remember, ten or fifteen years from now, there’s a solid chance you won’t be doing this anymore. Do you want to look back on these competitions and remember failure, anger, and sadness? Or would you rather look back on these competitions and remember having a fucking blast? You lift weights fast, throw a piece of rubber to men in tights, or grind your body into another person while sweating profusely. Literally, you’re going to beat yourself up over nothing, or start a fight for this “cause.” It’s silly. The most successful people enjoy what they do everyday. They learn from their mistakes. They don’t waste their “fucks” on things that don’t actually matter. Have fun.

These are certainly based on my opinion. You’re more than welcome to show up to the next competition with no food, pissing on everyone, and being miserable. You might even do well. However, I feel very strongly that these 5 simple tips can go a long way and making sure you create great memories and set yourself up for success.

Be good, stay safe, train hard.

-aaron