Prepare To Have The Best Training Sessions Of Your Life

You can’t just show up to a training session and expect to kill it every time. You’ve gotta get your mind right and prepare for your training sessions. You’ve gotta have a plan.

So, let’s break down what it takes to prepare for training sessions. Here are the 3 pre-training steps you need to perform at your best:

  1. Goal setting
  2. Mental pre-training preparation
  3. Optimize practice performance

Goal Setting

A friend of mine documented wrestler Kyle Dake and his fourth championship in four weight-classes. In his last year, every day, Kyle would write in his notebook:

2013 165 lbs D1 National Champion!
2013 165 lbs D1 National Champion!
2013 165 lbs D1 National Champion!
2013 165 lbs D1 National Champion!

Yup, he’d write it four times.

Kyle Dake Goal Setting

Screenshot from Four for Four

Here’s what I have all my wrestlers do:

  1. Write down today’s date
  2. Write down your Big Goal for the Year and underline it
  3. Write 2-3 to-dos for the day – must accomplish

Note: I personally use the passport note from Muji – fits in the pocket easily and it looks like you’re a secret agent. If you prefer to order from Amazon, a good sized Moleskin is available.

Writing the goal down four times is Kyle’s thing, “if you want to make it your own, feel free” I tell my wrestlers, but I won’t insist on it. Writing your big goal every day, though, is a must because it’ll keep that goal in sight.

Limiting the rest of your to-dos emulates the process of many top CEOs, experts in optimanl performance and goal achievement. As Ryan Holiday, says “give yourself a short list each day, do ALL those things, no excuses”. If your practice is super structured, and you didn’t get a chance to work on one of your to-dos, stay after.

Some sample to-dos for BJJ fighters:

  • Drill 15 pressure passes to left & right each
  • Figure out that leg-lock tweak I saw in one of Dan’s videos
  • Blow my lungs out to improve my conditioning

Mental preparation for training

On mentally preparing for training – don’t over do it on energy drinks, coffee or hyping yourself up. Instead, learn the difference between controlled aggression vs. uncontrolled aggression.

It’s written on the faces of world champions, staying calm in the face of the storm. Avoid giving in to uncontrolled aggression, all that leads to is the dreaded adrenaline dump and gassing 5 minutes into rolling. Be like Miyao early in your career, and you’ll improve much faster.

The other side of the coin, is to avoid non-aggression. It’s the alternative mistake I see a lot of beginners make. They hear their coach say “relax out there”, and end up not showing up at all. Here Justin Rader talks about how Joao Miyao is surprisingly relentless. Make sure to always impose your game.

That should be your pre-training preparation mindset. Impose your game, without giving in to your emotions: controlled aggression.

Optimize Practice Performance

The best advice I can give, is to meditate. Meditation is not mystical mumbo-jumbo; it’s learning to control your brain and control your emotions.

I won’t get into all the nitty-gritty details here. One of my more popular articles is Meditation and Combat Sports: What You Need to Knowbut I’ll leave you with this:

Meditation means less stress, better recovery and more energy. What more can you ask for?


Sound off! Use the comments to let me know how you prepare for a training session.

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