February 27, 2012

In every sport, successful coaches always prepare a game plan just like a general prepares a strategy for battle. Going into a conflict without a plan is like flying blind – you leave yourself exposed and unready to capitalize on every opportunity.

Some people equate having a game plan as to being a boring fighter. The infamous strategy of “Lay and Pray” did not help make the case for game planning in MMA.

However, the fact of the matter is that having a game plan means that you are prepared for ANYTHING that will happen during a course of a fight. The more detailed your game plan, the more prepared you are.

A good competitor knows his strengths and weaknesses relative to his opponent and will develop a game plan accordingly. As a competitor, you are always trying to fight in a position where YOU hold the most advantage.

Here are a couple of things you should consider when developing a game plan:

1 – The first thing you should consider for your game plan is what position you believe you will have the best chance of finishing or controlling the fight. This will give your game plan direction. Everything you do should be to take you one step closer to the finishing position – much like a game of chess.

2 – The second thing you should consider is what position are you weakest at. Your opponent will no doubt be looking to exploit your weakness, so you must be prepared for this and be able to find a way out.

The best way to figure this out is to imagine that you are your opponent. Then think of how you would defeat yourself, given your opponents tools. Once you know this, you will have an idea of what you need to work on to prepare for your opponent’s attack.

Keep in mind you may have multiple positions where you can finish a fight, just like you can have multiple weakness that an opponent can exploit. The more detailed your game plan, the more options you will have.

Remember the purpose of a game plan is to give your fight direction. You are not just fighting blindly hoping to land in a good position to win – every action you take is guiding yourself one step closer to victory.

A sample game plan is shown below. Click the image below to get a zoomed in picture.


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To become the best, we must continuously test ourselves. We measure our performance, evaluate our faults, accept criticism and then work on improving ourselves before starting all over again.

I live by this principle, and I need your help! I wish to be the best instructor I can be, but I need feedback from you to know if I am doing a good job. Let me know if you liked or disliked what you saw in the video by entering a comment below. If you liked it, share it with your friends by clicking the share buttons at the top of the page.

What did you think?

  • shaman light says:

    this is a very affective stratagy! making a diagram of your game plan is one of the smartest things you can do for your grappling! i have made diagrams for every position in details like what to go to if you try an arm bar and your opponet pulls his arm out and if he defends that what to go to from there! i try to even include unorthadoxe positions in ther to cause you never know how you,ll end up!

  • At the moment I’m in the process of losing weight. So I can compete. This is a great example for me to hold on to and put forth when I feel like I’m ready to take on that challenge. I spoke about this on twitter but again I’m really trying to soak up all the info you have been giving us. Thank you.

  • Greta article David. I’ve developed a mind map and I now have a better awareness of where my strengths and weaknesses lie. The big picture is also becoming more detailed as I learn more techniques adn am able to link them together.

  • Game plans are essential but I like the visual layout of doing it like this. Is there a reference you can suggest to use the format above in the .png file.

    • It is called a mind map. There are many softwares out there that does this. Check out Mindjet.

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