[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_97P5NAMds?rel=0&w=560&h=315]
By: Tyler Bishop
When preparing for tournaments we often tend to concern ourselves with many elements of preparation that hold very little merit in terms of our relative performance. This is a hard lesson to learn and is typically something each jiu jitsu practitioner develops around their own understanding over time.
In our continual strive to improve performance and elevate our game we start magnifying small areas that we may be able to gain an edge. This is normal, and in fact, this is a virtue. Is shows a strong will and a indomitable character. The slippery slope in this accord is the unfortunate circumstance that just about everyone has fallen into at one point or another. Typically at some point, just about every jiu jitsu competitor has found themselves over-focused on these little elements. We drop the ball on focusing on the larger – more important – elements, and inevitably have to a learn these lessons the hard way.
While it is true that the little things can often make a big difference, it’s often which little things we choose to focus on that truly determine our successes and failures. For example, when focusing on my footlocks or guard passes, the smallest of details make all the difference in the world – as it relates to my success. However, when determining what gi I will wear and what I will eat for breakfast the morning of the competition these details may make only a miniscule difference. So you see, it’s the dynamics of our focus, not the size of the details that  truly make a difference between the little things and big things in jiu jitsu. By truly understanding what does and does not deserve your undivided focus in tournament preparation, you can begin to make your development more progressive and efficient.
Below are some things I consider “little things” (deserve less focus), and “big things” (deserve more focus):

Little Things:

  • Weight cutting
  • Clothing and apparel
  • Strength and conditioning (to the point to where it monopolizes your jiu jitsu training)
  • Proper rest/tapering
  • Perfect nutrition
  • Who your opponents will be

Big Things:

  • Techniques
  • A personal game plan
  • A proper warm-up
  • Proper nutrition
  • A structured training regiment prior to competition