As someone who's been training for over a decade, I have found every possible way to both fail and succeed. I've tried several types of products over the years, some stuck while others did not. No matter what you use, it's important that you build the habit of using it so you can build success from it.
Here are my thoughts on some tools that I think will really help students get organized so they can advance and capitalize on everything that they're learning in and out of class.
Win the Lesson Jiu-Jitsu Notebook
Cost: Free and Paid Version
This is by far one of the best apps that I've used and I've used a few over the years. A few of my morning students have been using it to keep track of what they were learning. It's genuinely and excellent app that's grown quite a bit over the years from when I first came across it. There's both a free and paid version, but the free version is packed with a ton of options.
Overall, you can log the techniques taught during class in detail, the amount of time spent on drilling, sparring, along with the number of rounds sparred. Additionally there are options for tracking your belt promotions, weight, competition results, injuries, and non-Bjj exercises.
Lastly, there's also a timer for your rounds which comes in handy when you're too lazy to get up to set the class timer.
Logs class and sparring time.
You can tag training partners on your log entries.
Great app that continues to grow over time.
YouTube and Google Calendar
This option is on the semi-low tech side but also pretty useful. What we did with my morning class was create a private YouTube channel for the techniques that I would going over. This allowed the students to review if they were missing key details or to learn from home on the days that they missed class.
In addition to the videos, I also use Google Calendar for myself. In the screenshot above, you can see what one of my entries with details looks like. If you don't want to clutter your personal calendar with Jiu-Jitsu entries, I suggest creating a new sub calendar.
The plus side of doing this is that you can make the notes as detailed as you need, you can even add links to the corresponding YouTube video, and share the calendar with others.
Simple and easy.
Searchable calendar entries.
While it's not going to have the bells and whistles of some of these other options, the simplicity may be easier for more students to keep up with.
So this is a cool one to use but I'll admit, there's a bit of a learning curve. If you can get past that aspect of it, it's a fantastic tool for both the students and instructors.
William and I became friends on Twitter and we started talking about an application that he's been using to keep his lessons and students organized. After some discussion he made me a version of it and was kind enough to walk me through what powered it and how he has utilized it's features. The application is belt through Notion, so it's pretty adaptable.
If you have issues with keeping yourself or your classes organized, I highly recommend this application. It's customizable, works on both the PC and mobile devices, and has the ability to really organize nearly every aspect of your Jiu-Jitsu. The additional upside to supporting this project is that it's created and sold by a Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt who genuinely wants to help other athletes and instructors.
Visualize Your Schedule
Win the Lesson Jiu-Jitsu Notebook
The Win the Lesson Jiu-Jitsu Notebook was created and inspired by Alicja Colon, a Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt. The reason I really like this method is the fact that it's not tied into a service of any kind or even the need of the internet. Often times the simplest form is the most useful. Additionally, many of us remember details better when we physically write them out, this affords you that opportunity.
I love the layout, you can be as details as you need without worrying about space or character limitations. I found that the visualization of the body can also assist students in keeping their thoughts organized.
Lastly, they also sell organizational tabs that you can place on the edges of your pages to organize your notebook into chapters.
Hard Copy, not tied into the internet.
Note technique details in the manner you wish.
Visualization of the attack on the body.
Log promotion dates.
Fantastic options for those of us who don't want to be tied into internet.
In the end, no matter which one of these you use, it's going to be important that you use them diligently. When I say diligently, I don't necessarily mean every day or every class. There are times when I teach that I may not be speaking to everyone in the room. Is the information valid and needed by all students, yes. But there are lessons that an instructor will show that we know are specific to certain students who play a specific game. It's going to hit hardest for them because it's a technique that they're either trying to implement or sharpen.
So with that being said, personally I don't write everything down, but when I see a technique that I just know was for me, because it fit comfortably into what I was already doing or something I might be doing in the near future. I jotted down notes or get a quick video.
All four of these will get the job done. I chose these four because they're genuinely different from one another. One option may speak personally to some of you more than another. Use the one that fits best for your lifestyle and the way you process information. If you're unsure, try them all and make a choice later.
I would to hear your thoughts on these or of any other suggestions that you think others should try out.
Hit me up in the comments.