In this blog post, I'll be sharing some essential BJJ rolling tips that will help you improve your skills on the mat.
If you're a BJJ practitioner, you know that rolling is an essential part of training.
Rolling, or sparring, is where you put your technique and skills to the test against a resisting opponent.
It's the closest thing to real-world application of techniques and is crucial for improving your BJJ game.
Rolling is not just about winning or losing, it's about learning and improving.
By implementing these tips, you can use rolling sessions to identify weaknesses in your game and work on improving them.
With a learning mindset, you can turn rolling sessions into opportunities for growth and development.
Let's dive in and learn how to use rolling to take your BJJ game to the next level.
Table of Contents
Why is rolling important in BJJ?
Rolling, or sparring, is a critical aspect of BJJ training that offers numerous benefits to practitioners, such as:
Benefit #1: Technique improvement
Rolling offers a unique opportunity for practitioners to test their techniques against a live, resisting opponent.
This allows them to receive instant feedback on what works and what doesn't work, allowing for necessary adjustments to be made to improve their technique.
By incorporating rolling into their training routine, practitioners can continuously refine their skills and develop a deeper understanding of BJJ.
Benefit #2: Develop reflexes
Rolling sessions are essential in BJJ training because they help practitioners build and refine their reflexes and reaction time.
When rolling, practitioners need to be alert and quick to respond to their opponent's movements, which helps them develop their reflexes.
This is particularly important in BJJ, where matches can be won or lost in a split second.
With split-second decisions being made, the ability to react quickly and decisively can be the difference between victory and defeat.
By practicing and developing their reflexes during rolling sessions, practitioners can improve their chances of winning matches and becoming better overall BJJ practitioners.
Benefit #3: Keeping the martial arts legit
Rolling, or sparring, is the backbone of BJJ or any other martial arts that want to stay legitimate.
It's what keeps the art alive and effective.
Without sparring, BJJ would simply be a collection of techniques that have never been put to the test.
Rolling also helps practitioners to develop their mental toughness in addition to their overall physical strength.
BJJ rolling tips for overall jiu jitsu game improvement
Beginners often see rolling sessions as the ultimate test of their BJJ skills.
However, this approach can be counterproductive and hinder progress in the long run.
The notion that rolling sessions are "win or die" matches is a flawed mindset.
It can lead to an obsession with winning at all costs, which may result in injuries, discouragement, and missed opportunities for learning.
Here are 7 BJJ rolling tips to help beginners continue to improve and have fun on their jiu-jitsu journey while avoiding the pitfalls of a win-at-all-costs mentality:
Approach rolling with a learning mindset
One of the best BJJ rolling tips is to approach rolling with a learning mindset, where you prioritize gaining experience and improving your skills rather than winning at all costs.
By doing this, you will become more mindful of your movements and will be able to identify areas where you need to improve.
Remember, BJJ is a journey, not a destination.
By adopting a learning mindset and focusing on improvement, you will be able to progress faster and have more fun along the way.
Always train to improve not to prove.
Work on your weaknesses
BJJ is a sport that requires constant learning and adaptation.
One of the most effective BJJ rolling tips to improve in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is to identify your weaknesses and work on them during rolling sessions.
If you have a weak guard, don't avoid the position.
Instead, make a conscious effort to start every roll from the bottom and work on your defense.
If your opponent passes your guard, don't get discouraged.
Use it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and improve your technique.
Likewise, if you want to improve your passing game, then start from the top position.
This will allow you to focus on your passing techniques without the added pressure of defending submissions or sweeps.
It's important to remember that getting outside of your comfort zone is crucial for progress in BJJ.
Rolling with the same people and using the same techniques every time will only get you so far.
I struggled a lot during my blue belt days because I only worked on leg locks.
Once my training partners know my only game, then I felt like I was hitting a plateau for months.
By challenging yourself and working on your weaknesses, you'll be able to see significant improvement in your overall game.
Don't be afraid to tap out or make mistakes during rolling sessions.
It's all part of the learning process.
Roll with everyone but be choosy and specific
Rolling with different training partners is a crucial aspect of BJJ training.
However, while it's important to roll with everyone, it's equally essential to have specific goals during rolling sessions.
As a practitioner, you must have a clear idea of what you want to achieve during each roll.
This will help you to stay focused and make the most of the rolling session.
For instance, if you want to work on your offense, then rolling with someone who has a lower or similar rank can be beneficial.
This will allow you to try out new techniques and strategies without the fear of getting submitted.
On the other hand, if you want to work on your defense, rolling with someone who is a lot better than you can be a great challenge.
This can help you identify your weak spots and improve your defense skills.
For example, in the video below, I rolled with my Professor to test my defense.
In addition to choosing the right partner, you can also choose to roll with people who have different body types.
Rolling with bigger or smaller people can help you work on specific goals, such as developing your pressure or agility.
Ask for feedback
One of the best BJJ rolling tips that I have ever received from a more experienced practitioner is to ask feedback about your performance to your training partner after a roll.
Asking for feedback after a roll can be one of the most effective ways to improve your BJJ game.
This is especially true if your rolling partner is more experienced than you.
They can offer valuable insights into your performance, including what you did well and what you need to improve on.
When you ask for feedback, be specific in what you want to know.
For example, if you were working on your guard passing, ask your partner if they noticed anything that you could improve on in that area.
Or if you were struggling to escape from bottom side control, ask for tips on how to better defend against it.
While it can be tough to hear criticism, especially if you feel like you've had a bad roll, it's important to keep an open mind and be receptive to feedback.
Remember, the goal is to improve your BJJ game, not to prove that you're already great at it.
If you're not sure how to ask for feedback, try saying something like, "Hey, I noticed that you were able to sweep me a lot from your guard. Do you have any tips on how I could defend against that?"
By asking for specific feedback, you can focus on improving one aspect of your game at a time.
Record your rolls
Recording your rolling sessions is also an excellent way to improve your BJJ skills.
By capturing your movements on video, you can study them in detail and identify areas for improvement.
While it may be uncomfortable at first to watch yourself on video, it can help you develop a more objective view of your game.
By reviewing your rolls, you may notice mistakes that you missed during the actual session, or recognize strengths that you weren't aware of.
When recording your sessions, be sure to choose a camera angle that captures your entire body, including your feet, hands, and head.
Ideally, the camera should be placed at a high angle, so you can see the whole mat and get a sense of the movement of the roll.
An even better option is to ask another student who is taking a resting round to record your video.
After recording a few sessions, set aside some time to review the footage with your coach or training partner.
You may find it helpful to pause the video at key moments and discuss specific techniques or movements.
By regularly reviewing your recorded rolls, you can track your progress over time and make adjustments to your training regimen.
For example, if you notice that you consistently struggle with a particular technique, you can focus on drilling that move during your training sessions.
In addition to helping you improve your skills, recording your rolls can also be a fun way to document your progress and look back on your journey.
So, don't be shy about setting up that camera and hitting record!
It is okay to take a break
It is important to understand that taking a break during a session is not a sign of weakness or lack of motivation, but rather a wise decision to prevent burnout and injuries.
Resting during rolling sessions is a smart strategy for managing your energy levels.
By taking a break, you give your body the opportunity to recover and recharge, which will ultimately lead to better performance during the next roll.
Remember, rolling is not a competition of endurance, but rather a tool for learning and improving.
Moreover, taking a break allows you to assess your performance and identify areas that need improvement.
You can use this time to reflect on your strategy, review your techniques, and plan your next moves.
By doing so, you can make the most out of your rolling sessions and use them as a means of learning, rather than just a physical workout.
Another important aspect of taking breaks during rolling sessions is injury prevention.
When you are tired, your movements become slower and less controlled, which can lead to accidents and injuries.
By taking a break, you reduce the risk of injury and ensure that you can continue your training without any setbacks.
Rolling sessions in BJJ can be intense, both physically and mentally.
It's easy to get caught up in the competitive nature of the sport and forget that it's supposed to be fun.
However, I believe that having fun during a roll can actually make it more productive.
When we're relaxed and enjoying ourselves, we're more likely to be open-minded and creative.
We're more willing to experiment with new techniques and take risks.
Conversely, when we're stressed and tense, we tend to stick to what we know and play it safe.
One way to inject some fun into your rolls is to joke around with your rolling partner.
Trash talk and banter can be a great way to relieve tension and lighten the mood.
Of course, it's important to be respectful and avoid crossing any boundaries, but a little friendly ribbing can go a long way.
Another way to have fun during rolls is to embrace the playful side of BJJ.
Try going for unusual submissions or attempting flashy techniques that you might not normally use.
Even if they don't work out, you'll learn something new and have a good time in the process.
It's worth noting that having fun doesn't mean disregarding the seriousness of the sport.
It's still important to train hard and focus on improving your skills.
However, by adding an element of playfulness to your rolls, you can make them more enjoyable and productive.
To wrap it up....
BJJ is a martial art that requires a combination of physical and mental skills to master.
It can be a long and challenging journey, but by following these BJJ rolling tips, you can improve your overall performance and make progress in your training.
Remember that success in BJJ is not just about winning every match but about improving yourself, learning new techniques, and enjoying the process.
Incorporating these tips will not only help you develop your skills, but they will also help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.
So, embrace the journey, practice regularly, and most importantly, have fun rolling!
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