10 Steps for Jiu Jitsu Competition Prep

Professor Tony Casarez competing at the IBJJF Competition

Jiu Jitsu competition is a thrilling experience. For those who decide to compete, preparing for competition requires a lot of dedication. Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or new to the competition scene, it’s important to have a solid game plan for how you plan to train and prepare for competition.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for Jiu Jitsu competition: 

1. Train Consistently

The key to performing well in competition is to train consistently leading up to it. Make sure to train at least 5x a week. Consider adding in extra training sessions when you can. Specifically, you want to increase your sparring time. This will help to improve your timing and prepare your cardio for competition. Work your way up to multiple 10 minute rounds a day. You should be rolling the most 2 weeks out from competition. 

2. Create a Game Plan

Work with your coach to develop a game plan that works with your style of Jiu Jitsu. Visualize how you will start the match, how you will sweep, and how you will pass guard. Select a handful of submissions that you like, and work toward those in every roll you do leading up to competition. Make sure to talk to your coach about your game plan, and allow them to make changes or tweaks as necessary. 

3. Increase Cardio Training

Whether you train cardio outside of Jiu Jitsu or not, competition prep should always include some form of cardio, specifically, zone 2 cardio. This zone 2 cardio will  improve your VO2 max, thus improving your performance on the mats. 

4. Eat and Hydrate Properly 

In some cases, competition requires weight cuts. When weight cutting, we suggest using an app such as MyFitnessPal to track your calories. Prioritize eating meat and fruits. You also want to make sure you are drinking enough water to carry your body through the intense training beforehand, and eventually through competition. A general rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water a day. 

5.  Get Sufficient Rest

The weeks leading up to competition is the time to prioritize good sleep and make sure you are recovering well. You will be training a lot, and it is easy to get run down and even sick. Make sure that you are sleeping at least 8+ hours a night. This will allow you to stay on track with your training plan, show up strong and ready to work at class, and finally make it to competition healthy and feeling good. 

6. Study Your Opponents 

If applicable, research your opponents and watch some of their matches. Generally speaking, you want to stick with your game plan no matter what. That being said, there are some benefits to watching your opponents. You can identify their weaknesses and prepare for their strengths. 

7. Prepare Your Mind

Jiu Jitsu competition is an intense form of competition that requires a lot of mental preparation. Dedicate some time in your day toward preparing and training your mind for the competition scene. Visualize success, know that you are the best and most prepared, and strategize how you plan to stay composed and focus when it is time to compete. There are some great books that can help with mental preparation: 

  1. With Winning In Mind 
  2. Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable 
  3. The Brave Athlete 


8. Warm Up Properly

The biggest mistake athletes make in competition is not warming up properly.  You want to break a sweat before competition. Get your heart rate up so that you do not experience an intense adrenaline dump in your first match. This could mean rolling with a teammate, sprints, jiu-jitsu warm up drills, or jogging around the arena. Make sure that you are spiking your heart rate so that you are warm and ready to go before the match. 

9. Focus on Performance

Rather than fantasizing about winning gold, what you are going to post on Instagram, or how you’ll tell your friends you beat all your opponents, focus on your performance. Aim for a strong performance that showcases all of the hard work that  you have invested leading up to competition. The best performance will win, so that will take care of itself. Focus less on how close you are to first place, and more about beating the opponent that is front of you with the absolute best Jiu Jitsu that you have to offer. 

10. Learn From The Experience

This is an important step that many athletes forget to do. Once the competition is complete, regardless of the result, take some time to review the footage with your coach and teammates. Also, reflect on your competition prep and note any changes you would make in the future. How was your cardio? How was your game plan? How was your weight cut? How was your mental preparation? How was your sleep and rest? The more you can learn from one competition, the better you will be at the next. 


By following these steps, you will be well prepared and ready to perform your best at your Jiu Jitsu competition. Remember, the key to success is consistency, dedication, and a solid game plan. Stick to your training plan, and you will show up at your competition ready to dominate. 


We have 10 students competing at the Pan Ams 2023 in Florida this coming week. We brought a strong team last year, and the students performed well. We are looking forward to another successful week at the Pan Ams. Each of them have developed a training plan that meets their goals, and we have been upping the training the past couple weeks to prepare them for their matches. 


Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates on their performances.

Instagram: @tonycasarez | @lepribjjraleigh
Facebook: Tony Casarez | Lepri BJJ Raleigh
Youtube Channel: Tony Casarez

If you are interested in training with us, send us an email at casarezbjj@gmail.com