Tournament Preparation

So, you’re thinking about competing in that upcoming tournament but not sure what you should work on – or how to prepare?

Allow me to share a few ideas with you to help you prepare:

I. Get your mind in the right place.

II. Get into shape.

III. Measure your current abilities.

IV. Make a plan of attack.

I. Get Your Mind In The Right Place.

When it comes to competing, there are so many factors that come into play as to who wins, who loses, and who gets injured. Here are just a few:

A. How much experience do you (and your opponents) have with tournaments? If you have zero to minimal experience and your opponents have a lot, it can be to your disadvantage. But if it’s the other way around, then it’s to your advantage.

B. What physical attributes do your opponents bring to the tournament? While you may be in decent shape come tournament time, you discover your first opponent is a 27-year-old, former junior and senior school and collegiate wrestler – who has also competed in the CrossFit Game competitions the past four years. Your second opponent is your same size and weight but he’s also been powerlifting for six years. Their strength and explosiveness may come as a shock when you enter into clinch range with them for the first 30 seconds!

C. What mental attributes do your opponents bring to the tournament? As you will discover, grit, toughness, and determination will play a big part in the outcome of your match – no matter how “clean” your technique is.

D. What are the rules of the tournament, and how much time did you spend going over and making plans around these rules?

E. At times, there will be injuries associated with both preparing for and competing in a tournament. Are you prepared for this eventuality? Also, are you ready to accept some of the consequences that will come from being injured (e.g. missing a day or two of work, here and there; missing an important family gathering; having to cancel or postpone a vacation; needing surgery; etc.)?

While there are many other mental considerations, these five (5) should capture your attention and cause you to think (and plan accordingly)!

II. Get Into Shape.

While this can sometimes be a sore topic among instructors (because of the implications that athleticism will sometimes overcome technique), it is an important one among successful competitors. To compete successfully, a student must take the time to get into “tournament shape” – because good and clean technique will only take a student so far!

What is tournament shape? Well, to start, it requires a practitioner to have a high level of conditioning that will allow them to exert high levels of energy for extended periods of time – AS WELL AS have the ability to recover quickly. It also involves having certain levels of strength in a few of the right areas!

Two successful practitioners who come to mind are Gordon Ryan and Andre Galvao.


















III. Measure Your Current Abilities.

Let me ask you a few questions to get you thinking properly:

A. How would you rate your escapes from the important positions?

B. How would you rate your ability to control from the important positions?

C. How would you rate your favorite submissions?

D. In what areas are you deficient?

E. What would you classify as your “A” game?

F. What would you classify as your “B” game?

G. How do these two games coordinate with each other?

To fully prepare for an upcoming tournament, you need to see where your strengths and weaknesses are and then address them in a way that works for you!

IV. Make a Plan of Attack.

Finally, you’ll need to make a plan of attack 60-90 days in advance – maybe even longer for certain tournaments!

I hope this article has been helpful. If you’d like to dig deeper into this topic, send an email to me at roy@royharris.comand let’s set up a time for some private training!

Good training to you,

Roy Harris

P.S. Do you have questions or comments about this post? Let me know in the comments below, by sending me an email, or by clicking on the social media icon above and writing to me there!

Copyright © 2024 Roy Harris. All Rights Reserved.

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