Can a Coach roll too much with the Students??

It is great to have a coach that will get on the mat with the students and train. It is often a badge of honor, a way to lead by example, and proof that the coach is a legitimate source of instruction.

This article is not an aid to help determine if your instructor is a sham. I simply want to invite coaches to consider an important tool for teaching jiu-jitsu.

If you are a coach and you roll every round, you might consider a different option. Try rolling most of the rounds with the students. Use the rounds that you sit out, to watch the students roll. This is a great opportunity to look for areas of improvement and discover strengths of your students. I know that you can do this when you roll with your students, but students roll differently with their coach.  By watching your students roll, your lesson plans can be adjusted to the needs of the room. Simply guessing what technique to work next is unlikely the most beneficial way to plan future lessons.

Observing students roll is also a good way to correct poor mat behavior. Someone may not be a mat bully to you or even able to put you in unsafe positions. But when you take a step back you can better identify a mat bully, and request that a change in behavior is made (something the rolling partner may not be willing to do for themselves).

Look across the spectrum of sports- coaches don’t typically take the role of participating to the degree of a BJJ coach. Why is that? I have two main reasons. The first, is most coaches in BJJ are actively trying to get better at the sport so their participation is benefiting themselves. The other reason speaks volumes about jiu-jitsu. In many cases coaches can outperform the students (even if they are significantly older or not as athletic). Therefore by being an “on the mat rolling coach” is providing the students with competitive and technical training sessions.

I am not advocating that coaches stop rolling with students. I am saying that it may be beneficial to take a step back and make observations and corrections from the sidelines. After all how many football coaches do you see putting pads on? How many basketball coaches are blocking shots? How many baseball coaches do you see hitting home runs? How many boxing coaches do you see land a knockdown punch?

Watch the video below to learn more about rolling too much with your students.

Great coaches may not always be doing the sport, but they are great at transferring knowledge and changing habits.

A wise coach will spend some time observing students and making changes.


Epi 173 BjjBrick Coach of the Year Larry Keith

We are proud to have Larry Keith as the BjjBrick coach of the year. Larry has been training martial arts for around 35 years. Larry is a third degree black belt in Kodokan Judo and a brown belt in BJJ. He enjoys mixing throws with ending up in a dominant position. This is a great interivew with a outstanding person that we

We talk about:

  • Starting his martial arts program
  • having a large kids group
  • He is a big guy and he talks about not using it too much
  • How to turn a student into someone who can be more aggressive
  • Starting his own dojo
  • Working with the local boys and girls club helping to prevent bullying
  • Zero tolerance policy in public schools
  • Using a buddy system to prevent bullying
  • The goals he has when teaching kids judo and jiu-jitsu
  • Getting kids to do martial arts for their lifetime
  • Kids and competing in tournaments
  • Giving kids a leadership role on the mat
  • The importance of a family atmosphere in BJJ
  • Learning by teaching
  • His plans for competing more


Quote of the week: “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” Thomas Jefferson

Lesson of the week: Dealing with traffic and taking a detour to still reach your goal.

The Referee Corner “Epi 2 Sandbagging” starting at 1h33m

Gary’s audio book is called “rolling with ghost- breaking spirits instead of elbows”


Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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