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The Power of Having your Rolls Reviewed

In Jiu-Jitsu growth isn't just about learning techniques or refining your skills on the mat. It's also about gaining insights, learning from experiences, and continually evolving your game. One powerful tool in this journey is the practice of reviewing your sparring and competition rounds with the help of a knowledgeable mentor or coach.

I have been recording my rounds since I was either a late White Belt or early Blue Belt. It has helped immensely. When I reviewed my recorded rounds, I didn't always know what to look for but I was often able to see where I had improved when I reviewed old footage. I could see I wasn't making the same mistakes as I had week or months before.

Gain Valuable Perspective

When you're in the heat of a sparring session or competition, it's easy to get caught up in the moment. Having someone review your rounds allows for a fresh perspective. They can spot patterns, strengths, and areas for improvement that you may have overlooked in the heat of the moment.

Sometimes when students ask questions, specifically it's a White or Blue Belt, they don't always know what is going on or even how to frame the question around the details of what keeps happening to them. Recording rounds on occasion eliminates this because it allows both of us to watch, re-watch, and even slow the video down to pick up on many of the details.

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

An objective review of your performance helps you identify both your strengths and weaknesses. Celebrate what you're doing well and pinpoint areas where you can grow. This insight is invaluable for crafting a targeted training plan to elevate your game.

We have a habit of only looking or wanting to review our mistakes. While that's a huge part of video review, it's also incredibly important to highlight those things that we are doing well. Highlighting the things that you do well will help you expand on your A-game.

Refine Techniques

Jiu-Jitsu is a technical art, and refining your techniques is key to success. By reviewing your rounds, you can identify technical errors or inefficiencies in your game. With this knowledge, you can work with your coach to fine-tune your techniques and enhance your execution.

I've been doing the Knee Cut since I was a White Belt. One day I was drilling it in the gym and my instructor came over and gave me one adjustment. It was a tiny adjustment, something that as a Brown Belt at the time, I should have probably known much sooner.

These are the kinds of adjustments that can be made when someone on the outside takes a look at our techniques. We don't always have the ability to correct our own technique, especially when we are finding success in spite of technical deficiencies.

Strategize for Improvement

Reviewing your sparring and competition rounds provides an opportunity to strategize for improvement. Your coach can help you develop strategies to capitalize on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. This targeted approach to training accelerates your progress and maximizes your potential.

Since I've started reviewing student rounds, one of the biggest advantages has been the ability to get them to discuss live rolling in terms of strategy. Adding techniques into their game that have a plethora of options. When I see that they seem to be stuck during I round, I'll send them a link or show them a technique that I think would fit well into what they're already doing.

Boost Confidence

Constructive feedback from a mentor or coach can be incredibly empowering. As you gain clarity on areas for improvement and witness your growth over time, your confidence on the mat will soar. This confidence translates into a more assertive and composed performance during sparring and competition.

Literally one of the most rewarding aspects of coaching is watching someone who was riddled with doubt, a place where we have all been, and seeing their confidence grow along with their technique. Those moments of doubt don't linger as long as they might if you were trying to figure out your mistakes on your own.

Stay Accountable

Knowing that someone will review your rounds holds you accountable for your performance. This accountability fosters discipline and encourages you to give your best effort every time you step onto the mat. It's a powerful motivator that drives consistent improvement.

When I work with someone I'll give them homework assignments. If it's someone who's great at top game but unsure of their guard, I have them work only the bottom. Or if I see a student who wants to get better at the Butterfly, that's where I'll want them to force the action. Now the issue is, these are weaknesses and it's hard for some people to resign themselves to those weaknesses knowing losing a round is more likely.

The videos allow me to keep them honest to the assignments I've given them. That accountability is huge in terms of their development but also in building trust.

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Embracing the practice of reviewing your rounds nurtures a growth mindset. Instead of viewing setbacks as failures, you see them as opportunities for learning and growth. This resilient mindset is essential for navigating the highs and lows of someone's Jiu-Jitsu journey with grace and determination.

If I can get a student to get excited about a road block they encounter instead of getting frustrated, I can build a life long learner. This attribute and their ability to remain determined is really what sets anyone apart when it comes to attaining a Black Belt. There is absolutely nothing special about me other than the fact that I was determined and I had a growth mindset.


In conclusion, the benefits of having your Jiu-Jitsu sparring and competition rounds reviewed by a knowledgeable mentor or coach are undeniable. From gaining valuable perspective to cultivating a growth mindset, this practice empowers you to unlock your full potential on the mat. So, embrace the opportunity to learn, grow, and evolve your game through the power of review. Your instructor can do this for you themselves, or you can someone like me do it.

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