Reframe How You Think About Common Challenge
The plateau effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon exhibited in various forms of learning, be it conscious or subconscious. The effect is regularly experienced among those who partake in sports or exercise. Although virtually all people will plateau at some point of their life, knowledge of this does not make the experience any less frustrating. I can recall on numerous occasions Brazilian Jiu Jitsu students dismally expressing concern with their lack of progress. I can also recall my own troubles with plateaus and the psychological dissatisfaction with my inability to improve. Through these experiences I was able to generate a few methods of overcoming these plateaus that I would like to share with readers.
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The knowledge that all those who train experience learning plateaus does not negate the irritating sense that you have not improved for weeks or even months. The thought that does, however, disaffirm the internal annoyance is that all learning plateaus diminish with time. That is, to say, that by fighting through the plateau by continuously training and attending classes, given enough time, the flat-lining will dissipate. I find that acceptance of the experience is vital and may even be informative. Plateauing may benefit you by exposing various holes in your game and improving resilience and mental fortitude.
There are also some other useful methods that may help accelerate the rate at which you impede the plateau effect in Jiu Jitsu. One example is by changing the way you structure your training. If you typically focus a lot of your time on technique repetition, replace that with short bursting drills. If you usually roll six-minute rounds, try changing that to three minutes of high intensity rolling or ten minutes of flow rolling. There are numerous ways of modifying your training habits, it is up to you determine what works best in your environment. Other various ways of overcoming plateaus including training more gi or no-gi, changing what classes you attend, trying classes in the morning or evening, training with different people, etc. The point is to put yourself in a new situation that may reset the brain and diminish the plateau.
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Plateaus in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, although common, are discouraging and can even form their own vicious cycle. Fortunately, there are various tools at your disposal to help you overcome the inevitable such as those mentioned previously. The main advice I can recommend to people dealing with plateaus is to continue training and showing up, as all plateaus naturally disappear on their own.
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