The first, last, and only step in drilling is you just need to do it. Before you think how to do it, you need to shut up and drill. Everything else will fall into place. That’s the rule I follow with most things that are unpleasant in an objective-sense but are good for me in the long run. On any given day: do first, think later. Thinking is easy and fun, so I’m sure I’ll get that part done.
But thinking, planning, and evolving the drilling program is still important. So, I’m always looking for advice from experts on the subject. While it’s of course great to get advice from top BJJ competitors (e.g. Jordon), it’s often good to turn to related grappling disciplines. There are a lot of good wrestling articles on the subject. For example: How to Drill in Wrestling.
I’d like to focus on one piece of advice in the above article: Don’t Lag
One of the worst things you can do as a drill partner is be lazy. Whether it’s getting up off the mat or transitioning between partners/drills: Never take your time. Understand that time is valuable. The more time you waste, the less you and your partner will develop as wrestlers. You should be eager to drill, and try to get as much done in the time you are given. The best wrestlers don’t waste any time, so you shouldn’t either. If ever you don’t “feel like” giving a 100% effort in your drills, it’s probably time to find a different sport.
There are two practical pieces of advice here that I think are really important, and that I unfortunately fail at sometimes. The first is that as a partner you should never lag behind. You should almost take pride in being able to return to the original position as quickly as possible.
The second piece of advice related to that is that you should always be eager physical and mentally to drill. Drilling sucks. But it sucks exponentially more when one or both of the partners act like they don’t want to be there. On days when that’s the case, I try to fake it. I try to smile, pop up quickly, don’t act distracted, etc. One of the things I’m learning is that drilling is not just about the specific technique, but it’s also about helping motivate myself and my drilling partner to stick with it, to focus, and to finish the drilling session no matter what.
I don’t think I mentioned this on the blog yet, but I was lucky enough to win the “Drilling for Grappling Mastery” contest with the grand prize of an all expenses paid drilling/training trip to train with world champ Jordon Shultz. The following video is what won it for me. The editing is crappy, and you have to listen to me talk for a minute, but hopefully it’ll inspire you to take on a drilling challenge of your own: