7 Best Ways To Get Better At BJJ Quickly

There isn’t a single jiu-jitsu practitioner who doesn’t want to get better faster. Or even better, immediately. For better or worse, the second is impossible, and spending time on the mats is the only way to get better. The more time you spend, the better you will get. You need to show up and train.

But not every minute of training equals progress. The process can drastically speed up or slow down, depending on how you approach it. This is why I will share my best tips on quickly improving your jiu-jitsu skills. These tips will help you during the initial stages and even more so when you inevitably reach plateaus at various stages of your journey.

7 Best Tips To Get Better At BJJ Faster

There are tons of tips on how to get better at jiu-jitsu. The topic of skill acquisition, both in general and in BJJ, is as deep as any, and there are some conflicting ideas. For example, some gyms and coaches rely heavily on drilling.

Others prefer to focus mainly on conditional sparring. There are proponents of the method of using mostly free sparring. More recently, the ecological approach has been gaining traction, and it’s a whole different thing than the rest.

If we are honest, all methods have produced results, each with merits. But as a beginner who wants to get better at BJJ quickly, these discussions present little real value because, for most of us, the gym program is what it is, and we cannot control it. So, the training sessions will be structured in a certain way that we have to follow.

Instead of telling you exactly how to train and which drills are better than others, I prefer to outline the methods and practices that are entirely up to the individual and are the things I have used and still use to make constant progress. 

Deliberate Practice

The most important advice I can give you, which is also shared by many coaches, is to train deliberately. This means going into each session with something specific to work on.

Perhaps your side control escapes suck, and you need to improve. Or your knee-cut passes work against some opponents but not against others. Or you manage to get people into a triangle but can’t finish it.

The list is endless, but the concept is always the same. Have something you want to work on and do it. Use the time to drill freely and work on what you decide beforehand. This can be during practice or open mat.

The best way to practice like this is through situational sparring, but if your gym doesn’t do a lot of it, you will have to intentionally focus on the technique you are working on during sparring.

You can deliberately let people get into a certain position so that you can practice getting out of it. Or you can aim to hit a specific submission instead of using your bread-and-butter moves.

Deliberate practice is sometimes non-technical. For example, you may tap to strangles that are not super tight, gas too early because you are too tense, or get too nervous when your guard is passed.

You need to recognize certain weak elements and flaws and train with the focused intention of improving them.

Deliberate, focused practice, in my experience, is the best way to get better at BJJ more quickly than just going to the gym and doing what’s in the curriculum for the day.  

Do Your Homework

How To Get Better At BJJ Fast

You may hate the phrase doing your homework from school (or you may not), but you should implement it into your BJJ routine. This means finding ways to improve when you are away from the mats.

I personally am a big fan of this because there are hours during the day that can be spent getting better at martial arts without being at the gym. This includes a few different practices.

You may do just one or all of them; the choice is yours. But what’s best about them is that you can fit the practices into the gaps you have during the day.

You can watch instructional videos on your lunch break or commute or visualize while doing attention-free tasks like commuting, waiting in a line, walking, etc.  

Watch Instructional Videos

The most obvious is watching tons of instructional videos and reading articles. Acquiring knowledge is invaluable, and we are so lucky to be in a sport like grappling, where the top competitors and coaches constantly pump out content. We have the knowledge at the tip of our fingers.

Watching multiple sources on the same thing is an excellent way to learn the technique and see various points of view from different people. While you will surely not remember and try everything, soaking up even a third of the knowledge will be super beneficial.

This way, you can research techniques and positions you are having trouble with and then try them during sparring, not having to wait weeks or months until the gym curriculum touches on your pain points. I can’t count how often I’ve seen something online and used it effectively in the gym.

But you can also overdo this. Binge-watching 16 hours of John Danaher instructionals in a couple of days will likely overload your brain and not bring any actual improvement. So, focusing on just one or two areas at a time is better.

This free instructional channel by Sweet Science of Fighting is a good place to start:

Make A BJJ Journal

This concept may not be as apparent as watching videos, but keeping a BJJ journal is a powerful and effective practice. The likes of Gordon Ryan, Andre Galvao, Chewie from Chewjitsu, and many others have used journals to set goals, systematize knowledge, log in training sessions, and develop game plans, among other things.

BJJ is very information-dense, and keeping track of everything is easier to do with writing stuff down. If you want to know more, read the full article on BJJ journals here.


Visualization is used by some top athletes and high-performing people in all fields and is a core element of sports and performance psychology.

Visualization can include several things, and its effects have been well-documented in numerous studies. You can visualize performing techniques with perfect technique, which will improve actual physical execution.

You can go through an entire tournament set up with weigh-ins, matches, and aftermath in your head, and it will help you experience the real thing with less anxiety.

Mental training can be highly effective if you learn to do it well, and it is one of the most underutilized elements of performance and life in general.

Kill The Ego

How To Get Better At BJJ Faster

Few things crush a man’s ego as joining a BJJ gym. Regardless of how tough or strong you are, you will get manhandled by smaller and older people. But while some ego death is inevitable on the mats, you can make the process much more complicated and less beneficial if you go about the wrong way.

Being able to deal with frustration is critical for progress in jiu-jitsu, and the sooner you get better at it, the sooner your game will improve with rapid strides.

Killing your ego is tough for everyone, but it’s necessary, and it includes a few mindset changes:

  • Be teachable and open to receiving knowledge and advice from everyone, even lower belts.
  • Be willing to “lose” rolling rounds to work on the specific techniques and concepts you are working on as part of your deliberate practice.
  • Do not avoid people who have your number; roll with them even more and learn how they beat you so you can improve.
  • Try new things with weaker partners instead of crushing them repeatedly with your best move.

The list can go on, but the main point is to develop a mindset that allows you to improve fast instead of putting hurdles in front of yourself.

Strength And Conditioning

Technique beats strength, which is a core element of BJJ, but strength and endurance become paramount when the skills are equal.

Spend the time to develop adequate strength and cardio so you can last longer in rolls and generally do more work on the mats. Strength and conditioning for jiu-jitsu is a long topic, but it’s worth your time and effort (link to some strength training)

Your overall lifestyle choices will also heavily influence your performance and improvement rate in jiu-jitsu. Being healthy, having a good recovery, and going into training with sufficient energy all affect how quickly you will get better.

Make the effort to optimize sleep and nutrition as much as possible if you want consistent progress.


The improvement rate in jiu-jitsu is in direct correlation with the amount of effort, both physical and mental, you pour into it. While consistency is the most important factor, you can seriously influence how quickly this consistency will lead to getting better.

Constantly training mindfully and with a specific intention, soaking knowledge from different resources, doing mental training, and supplementing jiu-jitsu with appropriate strength and conditioning training will surely set you apart from the people who’ve trained the same amount of time as you but don’t do any of these.