Everyone has good and bad days on the mat. If you train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu long enough you will hit a plateau; plateaus can hit anyone at any skill level. Think of training like climbing a mountain. Each technique you learn and are able to use in your game you climb a little higher. A plateau would be when you get to a flat spot on the top of the climb. You may not know where to go from there, you feel like you are not getting any better. You are still training hard but progress is lacking.
Simply put a plateau is when you stop getting better. A big indication for me that I am on a plateau is when I keep doing the same techniques repeatedly and I am not getting any better at the technique. Sometimes I am on a plateau for months before I realize it and work to overcome the plateau. A plateau is a personal thing that does not depend on your training partners getting better. Hopefully you will progress with your teammates but if someone is getting better faster than you that does not mean you are on a plateau.
Here are some tips I have found helpful to getting over a plateau.
1) Stop worrying about getting tapped. You need to push your self out of your comfort zone. If you start doing techniques that are new to you mistakes will happen, and people will capitalize on them. Try putting yourself in positions you don’t find yourself in very often.
2) Try a new strategy. For example; if you are a guard player fight for the top, or if you are a strong wrestler try pulling guard. Doing a drastic change in your strategy will feel like you have fallen off the mountain instead of being on a plateau. Don’t worry, your old strategy will still be there for you when you need it. Your knowledge of BJJ overall will increase significantly.
3) Drill things that you don’t do well. Drilling will help anyone tighten up their game. By drilling things that you do not perform well you can try to add new techniques to your game.
4) Get direction from your coach. After class ask your coach what you should focus on next. Take a private lesson, that way you can get techniques that are geared for your development.
Plateaus are common in Jiu-Jitsu and in life. The key is to recognize the situation and make an effort to move on.
I was in a plateau and Rader’s seminar got me out of it. I am now drilling guillotines and trying to hit them from everywhere.