How Do You Set Your Competition Goals for 2019?

By Joshua Rozenboom

It’s the year 2019 and the first tournament of the season is right around the corner. Many schools are already preparing for the 2019 Arizona International Open. For some practitioners, this is going to be their first tournament. Some are entering this year with a new resolve to do better in competition than last year. However you are approaching the new tournament season, it will help to identify some competition goals that will help you track progress in an objective manner.

With such a broad cross-section of individuals competing at the local level, you’ll find a variety of reasons for competing and just as many personal goals. For the seasoned competitor, you are most likely sharpening your A-game, adapting new strategies, maybe even competing in a different weight class. For the less experienced or less confident grappler, your initial goal is not as refined. It can be daunting to just sign up and hope for the best. Here are a few metrics you can set for yourself while building up your competition record:

Be Prepared

This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but the first step in feeling like you’ve accomplished something is prepare for it. If you’re not already training regularly for competition, don’t expect to sign up for a tournament three weeks out, drop ten pounds, and be your best self on the mat. Take time to work on conditioning, identify your game plan (what’s you’re A-game?), clean up your diet and make sure you are on track to make weight. If you walk on the tournament floor as prepared as you can be, you will still feel accomplished no matter the outcome.

Identify Weak Spots

If you have no tournament experience, the amount of variables you encounter once the timer starts is daunting. You could start by breaking down the moving parts and setting small improvements as goals for the year.  You could choose a primary and secondary takedown, and drill those with the goal of hitting one of them in your next tournament. Your game plan should logically flow from there. If you aren’t confident on top, then try working on a guard pull and sweep combination that you can drill over and over.

Work On Your Endgame

If the beginning and middle of the match are not a problem for you, then try working on finishing as a goal. Do you want to survive and play the points game, or do you want submissions? If you have trouble finishing submissions, maybe choose one or two that you find yourself hitting frequently and learning them from all angles. Find yourself constantly grabbing a kimura grip? Learn it inside and out. Pay attention to your favorite Jiu Jitsu players, and you’ll notice each one has a prevalent submission in his or her arsenal.

Lose On Points

OK, yes, our goal should never be “to lose”. We strive to win. However, for grapplers starting out in their competition journey, you may find yourself getting smashed over and over again. So, in the spirit of setting reasonable goals make it a goal to fight through the entire match. With the amount of frustration that can set in after a series of quick losses, knowing that you fought your heart out and made it to the end is a very significant milestone.

Those are just a few examples of how you can break down all of the variables that go into a tournament. Small targets such as staying on top, using a particular guard strategy - even beginner goals like surviving a whole match - are all great ways to objectively plan for your tournament.

What are your competition goals for 2019? Let us know in the comments!