I get asked a lot about how to remain calm during competition day. It is important for you to learn how to let your body relax in those stressful situations. Stepping on the mats and going to compete is not a relaxing feeling. BUT understand that you cannot try to relax. You have to allow yourself to relax. 

Let me explain it in a different way.

Think about the time you tried to fall asleep but you couldn’t, then you start telling yourself- you NEED to relax in order to fall asleep. So then what happens when you “tried” to relax? I’m guessing it didn’t help. I’m certain that it made it more difficult to fall asleep.

Ever tried not to think about a pink elephant? (you just did)

pink elephant jiu jitsu legacy

The bottom line is – you cannot relax by trying to relax. You have to let yourself relax.

Luckily your body’s natural state is being relaxed so you just need to help it go back to that state.

And I am going to give you some advice on HOW to do just that.

Here are the 4 Tips to stay Relaxed during BJJ competition

The funny thing is, we all love being on the mat, but when it comes to a competition mindset we feel different, and the truth is – we shouldn’t. Whether it’s your main competition or just another tournament on your path to your goal, here are a few tips that could help you to be more relaxed so you could be better prepared to fight at your best.

Don’t give too much attention to the brackets

A huge mistake that I see a lot of competitors do. I see them standing and watching the bracket screen like zombies trying to match the name to a face in the crowd. In a big competition the brackets alone can look intimidating. However, you have to stay calm and don’t give too much attention to what the other look like or do. All you need to know is when and where you need to fight. Your opponent name or record doesn’t matter. It’s only a distraction.

Stay focused! Do your warm up properly.

Not all competitions are the same. Some of them have a proper warm up area and some don’t. And not all athletes are the same. Some prefer to do a full on warm up because they want to get the same feeling like before they roll at their academy, and some prefer to stretch a bit and just get their body warm. I’m not getting into the science of warming up, but I’ll do say from experience that  either way, you should  have a pre-planned workout routine for your competition day.
If you need to, go to the competition early, take your time to get ready physically and mentally before your fight. Have your songs ready and know exactly what drill or stretches you want to do.

Again,not all athletes are the same, some prefer to do some stretching or yoga flow and others prefer to do a light rolling as a warm up. Write down for you self 5-8 movements/ drills that get you in the zone to calm your nerves. (my tip: keep it as similar to what you normally do in your class.)

ibjjf europeans lisbon 2019 jiu jitsu legacy

Stay away from negative people

Do you know the guys that sound like the best fan of your opponent? Stay away from them. Even if it’s not intentional, this “hyping your opponent mentality” has nothing to do with you.

Remember you goal – you are there to get the 1st place!
Avoid getting caught up in other people’s fears and negative thoughts.
Our closest friends and family sometimes aren’t aware that their good will to help is actually more of a distraction to you as a competitor. So if you need, politely tell them that you need you time or space. They will understand that.

Don’t make it a monster

I saved the best for last.

It’s easier to say then do.

So let’s do a quick mindset drill:

Think about your best round of sparring you had this week.

Hold on to that feeling.

Now, visualize you standing, right before stepping on the mat to go and compete.

Try to bring the same GOOD feeling you had from training into that moment.

Still feels like it’s different right?

Any competition, big or small, is still a fight.
If we come to think about it – we all train harder doing more rounds, pushing ourselves more during the training.

So we can’t let the notoriety of the competition lead to you feeling like you are not good enough. Whenever you hear that voice inside your head just tell it to shut up. Hold on to that GOOD feeling from training, because that is how your really fight.
You are a competitor.
And you are here to compete.
It’s that simple.
Approach it the same way you would any other day and fight.

I hope you find this helpful! Let us know what’s your favorite way to get yourself relaxed during the competition and if you tried one of these tips, how did it go?