A-Game Architecture: Define Your Future State

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This is article 2 of 5 in a series about developing your A-Game:

  • Article 1: A-Game Architecture: Discover Your Current Self
  • Article 2: A-Game Architecture: Define Your Future Self
  • Article 3: A-Game Architecture: The SWOT Analysis
  • Article 4: A-Game Architecture: Monitor Your Technique Mastery
  • Article 5: A-Game Architecture: Optimize Your Jiujitsu

Define Your Future State

Once you’ve done the work to assess your current state, you have a baseline. This baseline should include details about your current capabilities of:

  • Your current Jiujitsu aptitude (by position) and at a high level (know your strengths and weaknesses by position)
  • Your current physical attributes
  • Your current motor learning aptitude (at a high level)
  • Your current learning preferences
  • Your high level goals and your why you are doing Jiujitsu

Once you have your baseline, identifying targets to improve is easier to do and becomes the basis for developing the transition plan – the actual action you will take to make shit happen.

However, setting goals and a vision of where you want to go is often a challenging thing to do and it where many plans fail from the start.

Ambitions are high when we get come momentum, but then inevitable bumps in the road occur and without a plan on how to address these things when they occur, our plans often fail.

There are numerous pieces to the puzzle of what makes people stick to their goals and at the root of this is creating behavioral changes.

Don’t gloss over this article and think “I’ll just train more”. That’s a plan that isn’t even a plan. This will help you throughout your journey in life – not just in Jiujitsu. Setting and achieving goals requires effort with actual behavioral changes.

In a 2022 article, the great team at Stronger by Science wrote a piece that included an in depth analysis of evidence-based strategies to support goal setting and behavior change.

They have boiled down the key factors of successful goal setting in this article. We will leverage these same factors when looking at our own goals. Noe: Tje illustrations below, unless noted otherwise, belong to Stronger by Science.

The Overall Evidence-Based Goal Setting Guidance
  • In this example, the superordinate goal to “be healthy” is linked to the “ideal self”.
  • Long-term success is proven to improve when anchored to your values.
  • Most goal setting strategies start at the Intermediate, or even the Subordinate levels, which define the HOW. This is where the wheels fall off the bus.
  • DO: This step is arguably the most important to setting goals that you will likely continue to strive for. The “ideal self” is you digging inside (i.e., your intrinsic values that drive motivation) that you must identify. through the diagnostic questions in our last article, this will give you a head start. There is evidence that suggests that when we find out our internal motivations, we are much more successful in achieving progress on our goals. This is your WHY.
  • Approach goals allow you to keep the momentum going.
  • There isn’t a penalty sensation for avoiding something.
  • DO: Add the descriptor of “more” instead of doing “less”. For example, “Attend more Jiujitsu open mats or seminars” instead of “miss no jiujitsu classes”. Your attitude can be influenced all in the wording which frames the goal.
  • The key here for Jiujitsu is having flexibility in your plan and your goals.
  • Goal 3, 4 and 5 fit together into the manner with which you execute your plan.
  • Just like a project, the conditions often change and flexibility to adapt and overcome will always be a skill that is needed.
  • You can not plan out every scenario that will add a bump in the road. Know that it will happen. But you can build in flexibility.
  • Flexibility might mean if your training plan includes live classes, study, and writing out your techniques each week, some combination of these is probably adequate but does not need to be the exact same each week. You may not be able to train each week. However you may be able to devote more time to studying and writing or listening to content aligned to your goals.
  • DO: Consistent application beats 100% compliance.
  • This correlates most to your training plan setup and your ability to focus on things like attending training sessions each week, the quality of your drilling you perform, the time devoted to study, etc.
  • As a coach, developing a more complete plans for your students, helping them improve in numerous ways like seminars or open mats, structuring your curriculums using improved learning methods, etc. is a process-focused goal that can contribute to student retention, student enrollment and referrals, etc. in lieu of an outcome such as “enroll 200 students”.
  • You can’t control things like “winning medals” or “getting promoted”.
  • The process focuses more on HOW you will get there. Target outcomes, whether they come or not, will allow you to adjust your process accordingly.
  • DO: Focus on the steps to get there instead; what you can control.
  • This is the essence of training. You will sharpen your sword (offense skills) and shield usage (defense) over time. Take those improvements with your training as your quest for mastery.
  • It is an ever-evolving playing field. Technique mastery evolves over time with your aptitude and automation of skills and the opponents you are facing.
  • DO: Use methods like the Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities / Threats (SWOT) analysis and Technique optimization scale to assess the efficiency and effectiveness and your growth and depth of understanding in a particular position and the capability of the technique (i.e., your ability to defend, escape, control, and submit) from the position. SWOT will be covered in article 4 of this series in greater depth. SWOT can also be used to assess your opponent before matches and develop opponent game plans.
  • This is where, traditionally, SMART goals would live. Without doing the work preceding this step, goals often fall short of being sustainable.
  • This is a scalable area on purpose. We often notice that our practitioners will learn faster as they “get into the groove” of their training. When they have purposeful, meaningful and deliberate practice and study habits, their tendency to pick up their technique habits improves.
  • Adjustments are made along the training plan just like any plan by assessing, the conditions and variables and risks can change and your plan needs to flex to accommodate this.
  • We will be covering the details of how to capture and execute your plan in the next article in this series.
  • Thankfully, this is to a large degree built into Jiujitsu.
  • Most of us know that training in a gym or with live training partners is an integral part to developing the senses and automation needed to actually perform Jiujitsu.
  • However, other habits to help improve our games may not jump out at us and connecting the dots could be helpful.
  • Our other daily habits to help us feel better, recover, and prepare for our training days all play a role in the goal hierarchy.
  • Take the time to understand how your goals all fit together so that you can squelch the idea of doing something when you may not feel like doing it. Remembering how everything fits together to help you achieve your goals will keep yo on the right path.
  • This is easier to do today more than ever. There are more opportunities to study and learn than ever before.
  • The most challenging component to this recommendation is whether the environment you train in is in line with your goals.
  • For example, an academy that focuses on hard sparring with little instruction may not be the best option for you if you are trying to learn in a more methodical way where drilling in various conditions would help. commonly you will see a high rate of injury or drop out at these academies.
  • There are ways around this thought. You need to be creative and curious and not allow this to limit your potential.
  • Make sure you discuss your goals with your instructor. If they do not allow you to thrive to achieve your goals, or their tone in the academy does not match what you need in the environment to succeed, then you may need to find a new place to train.
  • Thankfully, there are more places to train and cross-train than ever.

This goal setting plan can be done at any time in your journey.

The crucial aspect includes identifying your WHY that anchors the goal hierarchy together, and then adopting these elements of goal setting that have been proven to create favorable results.

Your why will likely change throughout the course of your journey. The dynamics of life ask us to look at our priorities and values constantly. This will help you navigate those waters when you face them and keep the ship sailing.

If you like content like this, please LIKE, SAVE, SUBSCRIBE and SHARE with others.

If you need any help developing your through your Jiujitsu A-Game, send us an email at heavyweightbjj@bjj.com.

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