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Grappling Game Plan – Mental Preparation Techniques

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  • Grappling Game Plan – Mental Preparation Techniques

    The techniques that you can apply to practice your game and fine-tune your strategy are simulation, visualization, viewing video recordings, and computer simulation.

    Simulation is a technique in which you create a situation as close as possible to what you are likely to encounter in the ring. Simulation attempts to recreate the stresses under which you perform in a match. It is a method used in practice situations to imitate the real thing and hone your performance. It is a way to familiarize yourself with the experience in a real bout.

    Simulation exercises
    a) Get used to external sources of strain/stress
    Noise: The commentator’s voice and constant yelling and screaming from spectators, and in general, the racket at a grappling or combat-athletics event can be quite nerve-racking and downright distracting. To get to used to the noise level, use audio recordings of matches to simulate your game during practice. This will help you prepare for these sounds.
    Presence of spectators: Allow an audience into your practice area to get used to people being around the ring.
    Unknown Venue: The rings for grappling and combat athletics are different. So it helps to play at the actual venue during training to acclimatize yourself to the space, dimensions, and feel of the venue.
    Weather: Training in extreme weather conditions is a big help when you actually encounter it in a competition. There cab be days when the heat has gone through the roof s well as days when temperatures are at sub-zero levels. The temperature may not be regulated at all the venues in which you play. So you may be exposed to extremes at some of them. Often times, matches in brazil are held outside in extremely hot conditions.

    b) Simulate physical stress:
    Recreating a match situation also has another far-reaching advantage. You will be exposed to a certain amount of physical wear and tear akin to a real match. While playing out scenarios, you usually experience almost the same level of physical distress as in a real encounter. So you have the additional benefit of experiencing a real adrenaline rush as well and can use the feeling of strength and power (caused by the adrenaline) to learn how to defend yourself and counter-attack.

    c) Deal with exhaustion:
    Practice and push yourself to your limits when you are tired and feeling fatigued. This is exactly what will happen to you in an actual match. You have to learn to maintain your alertness and concentration even when you are exhausted and low on energy.

    d) Play beyond the time limit:
    Extending the time limit is another way to push the envelope and exert both your body and your mental faculties. Continue to fight for a longer period than strictly necessary. By practicing beyond the time limit, you will learn to operate at higher levels of stamina and mental energy.

    Visualization is a technique that uses mental images to recreate a game situation. Through visualization a grappler or combat athlete can create mental pictures of the moves he or she plans to make and also visualize responses to the opponent’s tactics. It builds imagery into your thought processes to recreate an entire scenario in your mind. It can be a potent tool that can be complement your practice sessions and simulation exercises. Through visualization you actually get to practice in your mind on your own time.

    Developing your visualization skills
    Visualization is really quite easy to understand and practice. It’s much like doing math in your head. You call images onto your mental screen – images of yourself playing an opponent, the styles that you plan to use, the manner in which you will break out of an opponent’s grip, and so on.
    When you visualize, you get to see your moves before you actually perform them. Many writers make a distinction between visualization and imagery. The difference is actually very subtle. Imagery is considered to be a little more vivid than visualization, and a person who practices imagery is able to incorporate sound, smell and touch in the mental images.
    Through mental visualization you are mentally getting acquainted with the form that the actual encounter may take. The pressure and trauma of the encounter is considerably reduced if your visualization conditions your mind on what to expect and this conditioning prevents going blank and freezing in tough situations.

    View Video Recordings
    When you are unable to visualize all moves, a good alternative is to view the many videos available. There are instructional videos as well as videos of matches played by legends in grappling. Watching the moves is a form of memorization of techniques and styles: it helps you immensely in your mental preparation, especially when you are in the process of thinking through and strategizing your game plan.

    Computer Simulation
    Video games are available that have a built-in computerized grappling/combat-athletics system that provides the various move options. This is not kid stuff, but an interesting way to gauge the styles that you will automatically use when you face a particular situation on the mat. In a way, it is a memory enhancer that tests your ability to call on the best moves relevant to a particular situation.

    Source: The Grappling Game plan
    Lloyd Irvin Live