How To Set Your Mind Before Competition

Competition can bring up a lot of nerves and emotions. It can get so overwhelming that dealing with your thoughts is sometimes the first fight you have to win, before even dealing with your physical opponents. How to do this? The following thoughts might help you to prepare! 

Get comfortable being uncomfortable

Well, what did you expect? A jiu jitsu match is tough, so don’t be surprised when it brings up some nerves and fear. The first step in dealing with these feelings, is acknowledging that they are there. Once you did that, you can start getting used to it. The more you compete, the more normal it becomes and the better you’ll be able to deal with it. Don’t run from it, run to it.

Don’t think

“What if I get submitted in 10 seconds?” “What if she takes me down first?” Thoughts like these are non-productive and their only function is creating unwanted noise in your head. It might be hard, and it might not work for everyone, but sometimes it’s easiest to not think about anything at all. Focus on something else: the music in your ears, the movements of your warming-up. Cancel out all the unnecessary things and concentrate on what you can control.

Erin Herle ready to go. Picture by Guardeiras.

Trust yourself

Are you thinking about every step you will take in the match? From shaking the referee’s hand to the how you will pull guard, and so on? Then stop there for a second. Realise that as much as you’d like to, you can’t predict every moment of the match. And you don’t have to! Trust yourself, be confident in your techniques and your abilities to react to whatever will happen. If you do that, then you don’t have to rehearse all the movements and actions, because you know when the time is there, you will have an answer to them.

Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart. 

Let what happened in the past, be in the past. That counts for wins, and for losses. If you lost to someone before, it doesn’t mean you will lose again. Success is determined by so many factors, and moreover, it’s a moment in time. She might have been better the previous time, but today is a new day and anything can happen on a new day.

7x World Champion Beatriz Mesquita.

This blog is based on the book “Relentless: From Good To Great To Unstoppable” by Tim Grover. It’s about mental toughness, becoming better and what you do and evolving as an athlete. 



Rose is a black belt at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy Amsterdam (Checkmat). Besides being one of the co-founders of Ladies Only BJJ, she is a junior doctor MD and holds a MsC degree in Sports Sciences.

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