50 WAYS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR MARTIAL ART TOURNAMENT EXPERIENCE
By Syl Peterkin, RCM MMA/Judo/Boxing/Jiujitsu Correspondent
So you have decided to enter into your first tournament. These general guidelines should be highly beneficial for you before, during, and after the tournament.
Before The Tournament
1. Realize that competition is a part of your training. You are going against individuals who don’t know your techniques and habits and you don’t know their techniques and habits.
2. Identify what division you would like to fight in.
3. Speak to your coach in order to identify your strengths and weakness to work on.
4. Video tape yourself rolling (sparring) in order to additionally identify things you need to work on.
5. Put together a training schedule and regiment in order to prepare for the tournament.
6. Prepare to Make Weight.
7. Typically it should take 6 weeks of healthy eating and training to compete optimally at a chosen weight class.
8. Have a good strategy of how to win and what you need to win.
9. Visualize during your practice as to various details you might need in order to win a match.
10. Keep a consistent routine so that your body is used to the pace. Meaning if your matches are 5 minutes of randori/rolling, don’t train for 2 minute matches.
11. Read the tournament rules (many tournaments vary on what is permissible and what is not permissible during the tournament).
12. Pay your tournament fee’s prior to the deadline (either by mail or online).
The Packing List (the night before)
13. Bring a duffle bag (which is marked so that you can easily identify your equipment).
14. Bring your identification.
15. Bring a small cooler with light snacks and drinks.
16. Bring your mouth piece, shin pads (if you need them), or other safety equipment that is necessary.
17. Bring your uniform that conforms to tournament standards.
18. Bring a towel to dry off with.
19. Bring flip flops or sandals.
20. Bring shorts and a t-shirt (extra clothing in case it gets chilly).
21. Bring cash in case you want to purchase items such as souvenirs or even food during the tournament.
22. Bring a book, a tablet, or a video game to pass time during the tournament.
23. Print out the address and directions the night before the tournament.
24. Bring a pillow or even a chair cushion to lie down on (as many seating is quite uncomfortable).
25. Bring your camera, a backup camera, a stop watch, a backup stop watch and a tripod.
26. Make sure you have an effective means of transportation to the tournament and back from the tournament.
27. Do some light exercises which may include yoga the night before a match. This should help you get enough rest.
28. Be prepared for a long day at the tournament.
During the Tournament
29. Arrive early in case you need to be weighed in, sign a waiver, or speak to the tournament director for things such as merged divisions.
30. If given the opportunity, enter into a merged division, you might surprise yourself with your performance.
31. Give yourself between 5 to 10 minutes to warm up for a match.
32. Be sure to recover between matches by refilling with fluids, eating something light, take deep breathes, do relaxation techniques, and lower your heart rate.
33. Visualize during your practice as to various details you might need in order to win a match.
34. Be confident before, between and during matches. Don’t let a small mistake in one match have residual effects on the rest of your matches.
35. Watch matches! You might actually learn something. Different schools may teach different techniques which might be a huge asset to your toolbox.
36. Pace yourself so that you don’t gas out. Many matches are decided because of poor pacing.
37. Watch your opponents before they compete against you to identify their go to moves and any weakness in their fight plans.
38. Diversify your techniques so that if your opponent is watching you, he doesn’t expect you to repeatedly do certain moves.
39. Make sure that your coach is aware of when your match is and is able to coach you when you are in your match.
40. Walk with your teammates to their matches and vice versa. This is surprising helpful mentally to the both of you.
41. Record your matches and those of your team mates. Record as many matches as you can.
42. After your match, go to the scorer’s table to understand why you may have won or lost your match and if there are any more matches for you.
43. Stay in the vicinity of your match area as many people have won and lost matches based by simply getting disqualified.
44. Avoid acidic drinks the day of your match as this might cause you to vomit during the match.
45. Do not overeat or over drink before, during or after the match.
46. Don’t leave before all trophies have been given out.
After The Tournament
47. Be sure to attend to possible injuries
48. Watch videos of your matches so that you can identify weakness as well as strengths.
49. Understand why you won or you lost your matches.
50. Take a day off of training the next day and ease your way back into training. (your body needs to rest)