How to Get Out of a Plateau

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Let’s say you feel you haven’t been making much progress.​

Hitting a plateau is a familiar feeling when you practice BJJ.​

Here are some ideas about what to do to get out of a plateau.​

1. Work on related positions & techniques.

If you like using triangle and have been predominantly using triangle but nothing else, you can stop using it for a while and work on techniques that connect well with triangle. Omoplata, for example. Or you could make a transition into a lower body attack like kneebar when your opponent postures up & stands up to avoid your triangle.​

Or, if you like using the regular half guard, you could try working on the deep half guard or the reverse half guard.​

These related positions & techniques can help you expand your overall game.​

2. Work on being more precise with your existing techniques.

If your techniques stopped working against some people, it might be because your techniques are not precise enough. See if you can tighten up loose bits of your techniques.​

3. Work on some entirely different techniques that you wouldn’t usually do.

If you like to play the takedown & guard passing game, you could try pulling the guard and learn how to do lapel guard.​

Or, if you are a no-gi-only player, wear a gi for a change and see how things work. That might give you a fresh perspective.​

4. Work on defenses and counters.

You feel like you’re on a plateau because people smash you into pieces? Maybe it’s time to sharpen your defensive skills. When you improve your defensive skills, the key is to understand what your opponent wants and needs to do for their attacks to work.​

5. Watch & study your favorite players.

You have access to match videos as well as highlight videos of elite competitors on YouTube. Watching their matches and how they do what they do can give you excellent visual examples. Some players are hard to copy (e.g., Terere, Jacare, Leandro Lo, Rafa Mendes, etc.), but you can still get inspiration from what they do and how they move.​

Being on a plateau is like being in a bad position in jiu-jitsu.​

It can be uncomfortable, and you don’t want to stay there too long, but you have to learn to be comfortable and patient in such a situation.