As practitioners of any art or sports, we crave constant improvement. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners are no different. But how do we improve? How do we ensure that the hours dedicated to training are not wasted. Here are the short answers :-
1. Learn under a skilled coach or teacher. This coach should be able to guide you with effective training techniques. A good coach should know the best order in which to learn things, who understands and can demonstrate the proper way to perform various skills, who can provide useful feedback, and who can devise practice activities designed to overcome particular weaknesses.
2. Build your foundation on a set of basic fundamental skills. With the advent of Youtube many beginners are enamoured by fancy moves and flashy techniques. This is to be avoided at all costs. Once you have a foundation of solid fundamentals, then and only then should you add to your skillset with the many variations of techniques that is available.
3. When you train, ensure that it takes place outside your comfort zone. You should constantly try things that are just beyond your current abilities. In doing so, it will demand near-maximal effort on your part.
4. Set a goal. Be specific in what you want to improve. Perhaps you want to improve on your takedowns or countering a particular style of a guard-passing. Once a goal has been set, your coach should develop a plan to achieve those goals. Do not aim for some vague overall improvement.
5. Once your goal has been set, focus your full attention and conscious actions towards it. It isn’t enough to simply follow your coach’s directions. You must concentrate on the specific goal for your practice activity and make adjustments where necessary to control practice.
6. Always get feedback on your training and where necessary modify efforts in response to that feedback. Early in the training process much of the feedback will come from your coach, who will monitor progress, point out problems, and offer ways to address those problems. With time and experience you must learn to monitor yourself, spot mistakes, and adjust accordingly.
7. "Effective deliberate practice nearly always involves building or modifying previously acquired skills by focusing on particular aspects of those skills and working to improve them specifically; over time this step-by-step improvement will eventually lead to expert performance. Because of the way that new skills are built on top of existing skills, it is important for teachers to provide beginners with the correct fundamental skills in order to minimize the chances that the student will have to relearn those fundamental skills later when at a more advanced level."
If you find the above useful, the principles are found in this book “Peak: How to Master Almost Anything.”