At Valhalla Academy we do quite a bit of positional drilling and sparring. We start from well-defined positions and both people have well-defined goals. For instance, during a closed guard pass drill the instructions for the top man might be to break and pass guard or get a quick in guard submission. The bottom man’s goal would be to maintain the guard, sweep, or land a submission. If either person achieves one of these goals then the action stops and the two athletes reset.
Drill training is an outstanding way to get more practice time in a given position. The position, techniques, goals, and intensity can be modified to create almost any situation.
Two things that are most important in drill training:
1. Play the Drill – Drills don’t work when the devolve into free grappling matches. Play the drill and only the drill. Remember the rules. As a coach you need to keep a close eye on your students or this will happen.
2. Finish the Drill – Stopping early for some reason other than an injury or medical emergency is unacceptable. If you sweep someone and don’t get on top it doesn’t count. A sweep that leaves you laying on your side is not a sweep. Giving up because you are tired trains you to quit when the action gets tough and is also not allowed.
Brian Jones, PhD