Open Mat can make or break your Jiu-Jitsu game. Here’s a list of quick tips to help you get the most from your open mat time.
Warm up – don’t jump right on the mat and into a live roll with your favorite training partner. This is a great way to get hurt. A ten minute warm up gets your body and mind ready for the day’s training session. An easy way to warm up is five minutes on the jump rope and five minutes doing mat calisthenics (shrimping, forward rolls, break-falls, etc.) Once you’re warmed up, grab a quick drink and jump in to your training session.
Have a plan – this is where you get the most bang for your buck. Even if your plan is to “just roll” for the day, mentally commit yourself to the plan. If you plan on drilling, it helps to write down the drills you want to work on a 3×5 index card. Drilling/Rolling for time and/or reps is a great way to keep you on track once you start your plan. If you’re drilling for the day, make sure you also spend time working on techniques your partner is interested in as well. It’s a great idea to find a partner to drill with in the week before your open mat day. This ensures you’ll have someone to work with.
Don’t get sidetracked – save the talking for after training – small talk on the mat is fine but don’t let your conversation get in the way of your training for the day. A five minute chat can turn into twenty minutes very fast. Once you cool off, it’s harder to get back to training and your chance of injury goes up. If your plan is to drill, don’t get sucked into rolling. Instead commit yourself to a period of drilling and then roll when you’re finished. While rolling is fun, drilling is the oft ignored key to perfecting your Jiu-Jitsu game.
Make time for others – this may seem contradictory but if time permits, set aside 15-20 mins of your time to work with someone else. Don’t let a new guy sit off to the side for the entire open mat period. If there’s an odd number of people training, make sure to include the odd man out.