In a previous blog I spoke of the benefits of using periodization when training technique to maximize growth. It is limiting to train the same techniques ad infinitum. This is not only true for physical techniques, but also for the mindset you use in training; and this becomes especially important for recreational grapplers.
What do you want to get out of training? Regardless of your specific goal everyone has the goal of improvement. If you grapple for recreation the dichotomy you must face is that the training that helps you improve the most is often the least recreational.
Improvement requires getting out of your comfort zone and training with people who challenge you. You often hear the expression, "learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable" like there is some switch you can just flick. But willingness to do something extremely uncomfortable takes a long time to build, and even then it is not constant. There are days you when want someone to come and rain on your parade . . . you need it. And other days you want to flow to recharge.
The good news is you can improve without going all in and making every roll miserable. You do need to spend some time going to class understanding that you are going to pick the most difficult matches and that even though it will result in temporary misery, it will also result in long term improvement. This periodization could be week-to-week or day-to-day. What matters is having a specific mindset with your training.
When choosing the harder matches try to focus on the benefits you are receiving in that moment. Being pushed to where you can't breath? Great! You're improving your cardio. Stuck entangled in someone's lasso guard? Awesome, you are getting better at disassembling and passing. Often the worst part about training through discomfort is the not discomfort itself, but facing the reality of our current limitations. We have one outstanding day on the mats and expect to see that level of success every time we roll; it makes us believe that better than we are. But what makes things worse is that getting smashed can make us feel less skilled than we actually are. Maintaining a healthy sense of self-actualization makes improvement possible and easier.
photo credit // cauliphlower