There is a legendary basketball player by the name of Tim Duncan who years ago delivered a quote that I have carried with me through almost everything I do in life. The quote is simply amazing:
"Good, better, best. Never let it rest ‘till your good is better, and your better is best."
I LOVE that! To me, it’s sharing two messages; never settle and always improve. If you think about it, as you improve from "good" to "better" to "best", it shows the maturation of a specific skill. Logically, as you go through this process, something new will arise that you will become good at, allowing you to continue this pattern.
Consistent progression derives strictly from constant practice. Always seeking ways to improve yourself is so vital, especially for a sport such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. To see some of Lovato's training methods, check out this article on Lovato training for the ADCC!
Recently I sat down with world renowned BJJ player, Rafael Lovato Jr., who discussed with me the process of his training.
Drilling With A Purpose
When we think of drilling on the mat, we think of hitting a specific move over-and-over until we become more and more fluent with it. However, there are plenty of other things that come with proper drilling according to Lovato:
· You learn repetition.
· Specific moves.
· Muscle Memory.
Drilling and practice brings so much with it. While it does enhance your skills, it sharpens you mentally, and teaches you to become a smarter grappler.
Lovato has a fantastic outlook on the aspect of drilling, and the more we talked, the more evident it became.
Read & React
A major part of Rafael’s game is to put himself in the mindset of his opponent. Always thinking of how his opponents will react to specific moves, Lovato makes it a point to make this a part of his drilling regimen.
"Start to look for all the possible reactions the other person might have," Rafael shared with me. This is an awesome wrinkle to add to your daily drilling. If you look for this over-and-over again in practice, then when it’s time for your match, it’ll happen in slow motion. Practice like you play!
Another aspect Rafael stressed was to be open to the flow of the match. Many times we look for the very first submission to present itself and then go for the finish, when it might not be the best idea. Lovato shared with me that he often times drills his mind to NOT look for the first submission, but rather wait for the second or even third opportunity to arise.
Quite frankly, the way Lovato sees drilling and practicing correlates directly to why he is so good today. It’s one thing to be blessed with world class ability, but it’s another to hone your skills and make the most out of them, just like Rafael does.