top of page

Conquer the Competition: Navigating the 'Train to Compete' Phase of Long Term Athletic Development in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ Athletes competing in Train to Compete phase of LTAD

In the long journey of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), athletes traverse through various developmental stages, each with its unique challenges and focus. Among these, the "Train to Compete" phase stands out as a critical juncture, transitioning from broad skill acquisition to optimizing fitness and technique for competition. This phase is pivotal for athletes aiming to excel in tournaments and competitive matches, requiring a shift towards more intensive training, strategic refinement, and mental preparation. The essence of this phase is not just about pushing physical limits but also sharpening the mind and strategy for the competitive arena.

Understanding the "Train to Compete" Phase

The "Train to Compete" phase in BJJ is characterized by a targeted approach to training, where athletes focus on fine-tuning their skills and strategies to excel in competition. Unlike earlier phases, which emphasize broad skill development and exposure to various aspects of the sport, this stage demands a more focused and disciplined approach. Athletes work on optimizing their physical conditioning, mastering high-level techniques, and developing a deep understanding of competition strategies. Mental preparation also becomes paramount, as competitors must cultivate resilience, focus, and the ability to manage the pressures of competitive environments.

Intensive Training and Technique Optimization

Intensive training is the backbone of the "Train to Compete" phase. This period involves rigorous practice sessions designed to push athletes to their limits and beyond. The goal is to simulate the intensity and challenges of competition, ensuring that athletes are physically and technically prepared. Key to this phase is the narrowing of technique selection; athletes hone in on a core set of moves and transitions that are most effective for scoring points and securing victories. This focus allows for the deep mastery of techniques and the development of a personal style that is both efficient and formidable in competition. Drilling and situational sparring become daily rituals, enabling athletes to refine their skills in contexts that closely mimic competitive matches.

Competition Strategies

Developing a nuanced understanding of competition strategies is crucial during the "Train to Compete" phase. Athletes and their coaches analyze competition scoring systems, identifying key opportunities to secure points and advantages. Strategy formulation also involves studying opponents, recognizing patterns, and preparing counter-strategies. Personal strengths must be honed, while potential weaknesses are addressed or mitigated through smart game planning. This strategic preparation ensures that athletes not only enter competitions with a physical edge but also with a mental blueprint for victory.

Mental Preparation and High-Intensity Rolling

Mental toughness and psychological readiness are as critical as physical preparedness in this phase. Athletes engage in mental conditioning exercises, such as visualization and goal setting, to build confidence and focus. High-intensity rolling sessions are instrumental in this regard, offering a realistic simulation of the pressures and demands of competition. These sessions challenge athletes to apply their skills, strategies, and mental fortitude under conditions that mimic actual tournaments, fostering a competitive edge that can make the difference between winning and losing.

Balancing Training, Recovery, and Nutrition

The rigors of the "Train to Compete" phase demand a holistic approach to athlete development, where recovery and nutrition play pivotal roles. Intensive training must be balanced with adequate rest and recovery practices to prevent injuries and ensure athletes are always at their best. Nutritional strategies are tailored to support performance, enhance recovery, and maintain optimal health. Proper hydration, balanced meals, and possibly supplements are integrated into daily routines, ensuring that the body has all it needs to withstand the demands of competition preparation. Understanding the body's energy systems is an important element to high intensity training programs. This knowledge will allow you to develop strength, power, and endurance for your BJJ performance.


The "Train to Compete" phase is a defining period in the athletic development of a BJJ practitioner. It's a time of focused intensity, where every drill, roll, and strategy is aimed at forging competitors capable of achieving greatness on the mats. Embracing this phase with dedication, strategic planning, and a balanced approach to training and recovery can set the stage for remarkable achievements in the competitive world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As athletes journey through this phase, they not only prepare to compete but also to leave an indelible mark on the sport they love.

Interested in learning more about LTAD? Check out the definitive book Long Term Athletic Development by Istvan Balyi, Richard Way, and Colin Higgs.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page