BJJ (11/3/2008 6:00pm)
One of the major issues I have been working thru is my mat anxiety. I love to roll, I love learning things, even when I’m getting my butt kicked and I don’t do anything right. When I’m going I’m willing to keep going until I’ll puke. My problem is that I have such anxiety about rolling beforehand. I’ll get nervous all day worrying about it to the point that when it comes, I get stuck in my head and I know it limits my performance.
I have been using many tools common in sports psychology to help me to overcome this problem. Today, rather than fixate on the prospect of free rolling and the potential to get dominated I set my mind to focus on a specific goal and an overall strategy instead.
During last week's open mat session, I tried a triangle set-up that seemed to work pretty well for me. I decided that I would make it a goal to at least attempt this same triangle in a "live" situation. I also committed to focus on a strategy of working on my guard game, focusing on sharpening my sweeps, hip movement and opponent posture control. Every time my mind started to wander into that obsessive and nervous place I pulled it back and focused on my strategy and goal for the night instead.
We drilled half guard sweeps and I can finally say that I am starting to become a bit more comfortable in half guard. I am able to really crunch into a tight ball so I find that I can be pretty elusive and hard to deal with in that position.
We did round robin Pass / Sweep or Submit drills. To my delight, Fritz called me to start on my back, which never happens. As luck would have it, Dr. Evil was my first opponent. Instead of being nervous like normal, I was focused on executing the strategy and obtaining the goal that I had set earlier in the day.
As soon as we started I executed my game plan and set-up the triangle as I had seen in my head. Before I knew it I had it locked in and was using my left hand to break the Doc's base. During the scramble, I was able to use the triangle as a sweep and finish from the mount. This was not just a victory on the mat but a victory in my own mind.
Don't worry about the Dr., he got his revenge a couple of rounds later by sweeping me like I was a bag of feathers making me look like I had no guard passing skills whatsoever!