Jiu-Jitsu training is often very tough. Sometimes you go through periods where classes feel similar and you may think that your rate of progression is slowing. You roll with the same guys and the results are the same.
The more often you train, the more likely you are to have this feeling. The danger of staying on this path is that soon Jiu-Jitsu may soon start feeling not as fun as it was previously. Once this feeling sets in there is a risk that you might start skipping class and begin to question why you are spending so much of your precious free time doing something that is not that fun.
This feeling is commonly known as burnout and is common in all sports. Jiu-Jitsu athletes are particularly susceptible to burnout due to often intense and frequent training that is required to progress.
The other risk with BJJ burnout is that you can lose focus in your training and the training that you do is reduced in quality as a result. Training just to train is fine but it is not the best way to learn.
You can protect against burnout by taking a short break from training. For me a short break is defined as less than 5 days. The goal of this break is to improve your overall game by giving you some head space away from Jiu-Jitsu and allowing you to recharge the batteries. When you return to training you will hopefully be fresh and eager to learn and spar again. You might of even had some time to rethink your goals in Jiu-Jitsu which will help you become more focused in your training.
A short break does not mean sitting on your ass and eating crap. Instead why not lift some weights or go for a run. Do something that helps your fitness but is not Jiu-Jitsu. Even just go to the beach, watch tv, read a book. Anything that is not Jiu-Jitsu!
Change it up
Burnout is the result of repetition. The secret to avoiding it is to change up your training. If you train on the same days, do the same warmup, and work on the same technique every week, it is inevitable that you will eventually get bored. There are lots of small things you can change that will ensure that you stay fresh and that your enthusiasm does not waiver. For example:
- If you train a lot of Gi why not do a week of nogi and vice versa.
- Visit another academy for a drop in session
- Practice a new technique that you have never done
- If you are more experienced try coaching a class
- Train on different days of the week
If you get the burnt out feeling do not worry. If you train long enough you are guaranteed to experience it at some stage. Recognizing that you are feeling burnt out is important as there is a risk that you can drift away from Jiu-Jitsu if you stay on the same path.