Planning Your 2024 BJJ Season
While some may have already given themselves a head start on planning their 2024 year, let’s be honest… most of us have procrastinated. Now in February, you might just now be getting around to figuring out how you want your year to look.
That includes your 2024 jiu-jitsu competition season. But where do you start?
Unless you’re a brand new white belt, you’ve been here before. And you’ve probably already experienced that sinking feeling when, suddenly you realize – in, say November – that you haven’t nearly accomplished all that you’ve set out to do.
You’re not alone. We’ve all been there. The great part about a new year is that you can brush off last year and start afresh, this time with greater determination to do better. And you will. Because we’re here to help.
Here are four tips to help you plan – and follow through – with your 2024 BJJ season goals:
Types of Events
First and foremost, you need to think about what types of events you want to do this year. Do you want to do one or two – or more – big events this year? Or are you happy with the local events? Are you an entirely gi or entirely no-gi player? And do you want to stick to your “style”, or push yourself and compete in something different? Have you done “this” tournament every year since you started, and don’t want to break record? Do you want to combine your passion for jiu-jitsu with your love for travel?
These are all key questions you need to ask yourself to identify which types of events might suit your needs and preferences.
Once you know what types of events you want to do that year, time to do some research. Most larger promotions will have their upcoming events posted well in advance. Some local tournaments do, too, but it’s more common that they’ll post two to three months in advance. So, odds are, you won’t be able to plan out your entire year from the start. You will have to check periodically throughout the year to see what’s available.
The best way to address this issue is to divide your year into quarters. Have an idea of how many tournaments you’d like to do each quarter, and set a day each month to research possible events for each quarter. Here are some possible resources you should consider consulting:
- Promotion’s Website – Most promotions will have their own website, especially those that put on the bigger events, such as IBJJF, UAEJJF, and ADCC.
- Smoothcomp – Smoothcomp is used by a great many jiu-jitsu promotions and is a great source for smaller tournaments in your area, as well as international tournaments.
- Social Media – Each promotion will have their own social media accounts, where they post their upcoming events, as well as potential coupon codes for reduced registration. There might also be someone in your community who runs an account dedicated to local events of all kinds.
- Your Coach – Your coach may also have an idea of the upcoming events, especially those he/she plans on coaching at.
Another key question thing you need to consider is how much time you actually have to dedicate to competing? Poor time management is the number one reason people fail to meet their yearly competition goals. And it’s mostly because they underestimate the amount of time everything – training, prepping, travel, the actual competition – takes.
Here are some considerations to help you calculate the time you need:
- Training – To properly train for a tournament, most people will need to increase the time they dedicate to training by anywhere from 25-100%. For example, if you currently train jiu-jitsu an hour a day, four times a week, you’ll want to add an hour or two a week of drilling, running, or strength and conditioning. If you currently train twice a week, you’ll want to add two more days per week.
- Buffer Days – Always, always account for the days before and the days after your competition. Whether you have to go very far or not, in the day(s) before, you will not be able to focus on much besides calming nerves, making weight, traveling, and ensuring you have everything you need on game day. Have work to do? Forget about it. Likewise, the you will need at least another day after to decompress and celebrate - or mourn - your results.
- Competition Day – Overestimate everything. Want to get there an hour early? Give yourself two. Think you’ll be done by such-and-such a time? That will never happen. In fact, just plan to take the entire day off of everything else besides competing, coaching, yelling at bad ref calls, and catching up with your jiu-jitsu friends.
Now, all of the above is useless if you don’t actually execute. The best advice I can give in this regard is just do it. Don’t give yourself time or allocate any energy toward finding excuses for “why you should not”. Get out there. Go train, whether you feel good or whether you feel bad. Every minute you spend on the mat or in the gym is pushing the needle forward in some small way. Go compete, whether you feel “ready” or not. Nobody every feels 100% ready. You just have to go out there and perform the best you can. Win or lose, you’re gaining a wealth of knowledge either way.
Hopefully these will help you plan your 2024 BJJ season better, and finally achieve those goals you set for yourself. Train safe. Oss.