Founder, President, and Head Instructor of the Ronin Training Institute.

Tag: jiu jistu

Teaching Tips: Ways to Improve Your BJJ Instructing Tactics


We’ve all been there. Sitting in that course in college or in that huddle on a sports team. The the teacher, coach or instructor has no idea how to efficiently lead a group of people. Being the most knowledgeable person in the world about a particular subject  only gets you so far. Not having the ability to effectively put in place your knowledge won’t get you anywhere in the teaching realm. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, instructors hold the key to an up and coming practitioner’s success.  Students could have all the natural abilities in the world. If they aren’t taught how to properly channel such skills, their likelihood of success will be rare.


We often find students struggling with their comprehension of a sport. This can be due to the fact that learning abilities across a team can be widespread. As an instructor, it is up to you to create techniques and tactics that are inclusive to all learning styles and capabilities. Sometimes, it can be best to follow the “lowest common denominator” aesthetic. This doesn’t mean that the whole class needs to stay on the same skill until they all achieve it. It more means that that each course you teach should continue to review the most basic moves as a refresher for all. Paying that little bit of extra attention to the lowest level student ensures that they are receiving a quality education.


Communication is an extremely crucial aspect of being an instructor. Adaptation of communication methods goes right along side in importance. If you are unable to teach in a way that most, if not all, of your students can comprehend, they re-evaluating your technique should be a high priority. In BJJ there are many moves that require extreme persistence and practice. Being able to descriptively enlighten your students on safety measures must be done in the clearest way possible. For me it’s always important to make sure I cover, and my students clearly understand, the What, How, Why. This is What we are going to do, this is How we are going to do it and this is Why we are doing it.


One of the final ways that you can be sure your teaching methods are up to high standards is by reflecting on each class that you lead. Ask yourself questions such as; Did everyone seem to see the main takeaways from the course? Were there any students who seemed to not comprehend certain moves or drills? Though you should not get too caught up in any negative aspects of a class, assessing yourself and your style only leaves room for improvement. In any teaching scenario, having the ability to critique yourself and make strategic changes, is what will ultimately get your students further.


Keeping Athletes Calm Under Pressure


As humans, we naturally feel various emotions during intense situations. From fear to excitement, our feelings run wild in those final seconds of a tied game or the last round of a fight. It falls on the shoulders of coaches to teach tactics that support students during high-pressure situations. These lessons should be implemented during practices and training and can help days of competition go smoothly.


Acknowledging the Pressure Point


One of the first steps to helping your student overcome their anxious tendencies is by properly identify their pressure point. For some athletes, it could be the beginning of a competition or game, while others it boils down to those final seconds. In the role of a coach, find methods or remedies that can alleviate any of the tension during these anxious times. Often if a coach is aware of what sets their player off, they can get to them prior to the situation and calm them down. Additionally, taking that pressure off of them, is a tactic that many successful coaches have used in the past. Using phrases such as “let’s keep having fun and doing what we do best”, rather than “push yourselves and work harder” could be the motivation that your team needs.


Communication Methods


When a student is under pressure, they often find it difficult to zero in on your instructions. Especially in team settings, your communication skills come in handy in a major way. With various learning styles, being a coach can stretch you thin when it comes to giving direction. When a team or individual are under pressure, the way you choose to deliver your instructions or advice can set the tone for their performance. All communications should be made in a calm manner, as often as possible. Show your athletes how you want them to behave through your actions and words.


Let Them Shine


Changing the aspect or vibe of the competition can often throw off many athletes. Letting them do what they know best often warrants some great results. Sometimes it’s best to just reassure them that they know what they are doing rather than giving harsh instructions. Individual sports often follow this protocol more than team ones. It is easier to point a finger in team settings but being solo also means knowing exactly who and how to improve.


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