Victor Bachmann

April 8, 2010

Game Plans

Filed under: Training — The Professor @ 3:15 pm
Randy Couture is the master of game plans

Randy Couture is the master of game plans

My first fight was nearly 4 years ago. The training camp was a mix of everything; we would practice wrestling, boxing, jiu jitsu most mornings. Every afternoon, I’d go to wrestling practice. 3 nights a week I’d do jiu jitsu class. If I had the energy, I’d find the time to do some weight training.

The coaches talked to me about what I was going to do: wrestle my opponent down and either submit him or punch him out. Seemed obvious. But when I walked into the cage and the fight started, that didn’t happen. I ran at him with punches, he took me down, and we flopped around like fish until I managed to get mount and knock him out. It was ugly.

My coaches spent much of my next camp telling me not to mess around and wrestle the guy down and finish. But the next fight was much of the same. I didn’t understand what was going on. I had been a wrestler for years. I even competed in a wrestling tournament the weekend before. Yet I was still fighting aimlessly.

I thought I knew what it meant to have a game plan for a fight. It seemed simple enough, for me wrestle the guy down and maintain top position. I did that everyday in the wrestling room.

The difference was in the training. When competing in wrestling, you face more than one opponent during the day. All have different styles and in practice you train against different training partners. After a tournament, you look at where you had trouble, what people did to defeat you, and what you did that was successful. Then you go back and work on all those skills. Every day I was training for wrestling against wrestlers, not MMA against fighters.

When I was getting ready for my third fight, the training was completely different. This time it was run by Jeff Montemurro, who has been my main coach ever since. I was still training Jiu Jitsu with Kyle Cardinal, wrestling at the UofA, boxing, etc. But that was supplementary to the MMA training.

Before, all our drills were technique specific. I would do so many arm bars, guard passes, etc, with increasing resistance from my partner. Now, all our drills were skills specific. Techniques were left to be learned and improved between camps. Instead of repeating the same technique for reps, I would spend rounds taking down ever changing partners or submitting guys trying to pound me.

That next fight went perfectly. Instead of training perfect technique, I had trained to fight a certain way.

It’s a mistake that I see fighters make all too regularly. They separate their training, working on striking and ground at different times, only spending a small fraction of their time working on the fight plan. Then they walk into a fight with a plan in their mind that they rarely spent time practicing. While learning proper ways to perform technique is important, when getting ready for a fight, training for the fight is far more important.

Fedor dominates for 3 rounds where Nogueira is most dangerous

Coming up with a training regime can be challenging, but a good game plan can be near impossible. When dealing with one dimensional fighters, it can be as simple as defending a take down for 3 rounds while peppering your opponent with punches. With more experienced and well rounded fighters, it’s less obvious. There are many factors but it breaks down one simple idea: Control.

During a fight, each fighter is looking to control where the fight goes, the pace it’s fought at, the space given to the opponent. There are endless variables. By establishing control, you can shut down the strongest aspects of your opponents game letting you take the fight more places.


1 Comment »

  1. Good post.

    Interesting that a game plan has to be practiced until it is reflex just like any individual technique. You would think it would be too mental, that its just a matter of doing what you want to do.


    Comment by Jeff — April 8, 2010 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

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