When there are a lot of things to process, it can be confusing. The key is to narrow them down and focus on just a few essential things.
And take one step at a time so you can get closer to your goal little by little.
When you roll with your partner, you aim to dominate them via submission. There can be a number of steps to get this goal unless your opponent doesn’t resist at all. And there are sub-goals before you get there.
Most beginners tend to rush and skip steps knowingly or unknowingly. If they grapple against someone more skilled, they usually pay the price for cutting the corner. It helps to slow down your pace — make sure to observe what’s going on and match your intensity with your partner’s. It’s a bit different in a competition setting, but I believe it’s a good practice to prioritize positional control, generally speaking.
One of the most important things to keep in mind and check is whether you are safe at a given moment. Proceed only if you are sure you’re safe. Move forward one step at a time like this, and you will be caught less.
When you go for submission, the same idea applies. If you have great control over your opponent, they won’t have much room to move and escape from your submission attempt — no need to rush. Try not to skip any step and get to the final destination that way.
Sharpening your skills means, in a way, learning to complete each step of a technique as smoothly as possible. This smoothness is a product of continuous control over your opponent and how you transition from one step to another without losing this control.
Becoming better at BJJ requires you to recognize where things go wrong and fix such mistakes. But you don’t need to find 100 mistakes in one session and try to fix them all in the next session.
What you need to do is to fix one thing at a time. That sounds easy, right? It should be. But I suppose most people don’t pay so much attention to whatever mistakes they are making, and they keep repeating them over and over… and wonder why things aren’t working well for them. All you need is to focus on one thing and see if you can improve it.
Once you take that step, you can go forward and take the next step. Rinse and repeat this process. It may not be the fastest way to improve your BJJ skills, but it is a sure way. And there’s no reason to try to be the quickest learner in the first place.
Go forward at your own pace, one step at a time.