All because your BJJ coach might have a black belt in the gentle art, doesn’t mean he is an expert in teaching and communicating his knowledge to others. There have been cases of BJJ coaches acting aloof, arrogant, and lacking the social and communications skills required to teach and build a strong relationship with their students. Most BJJ students that are new to the sport or have only trained at one place during their careers on the mats won’t be able to easily distinguish a good BJJ coach from a bad one. Not all coaches are old school or only show tough love to their students. There are many different types of positive coaches out there that love to teach, embrace new techniques and genuinely care for their students’ learning experiences and growth. Unfortunately there are also coaches out there that are the polar opposite, who can ruin your BJJ learning experience and leave you feeling less confident and uncomfortable during your BJJ experience.
Here are 10 signs that you are with the wrong BJJ coach
Coach is rude: Your coach is rude and it goes beyond a language barrier or any miscommunication. Examples of rude behavior is dressing down students for not understanding concepts, not answering students questions, or just not being friendly. BJJ students are putting down hard earned money to learn and each class is a performance by the coach. If the coach is standoffish and rude, it will lead to a sub-par performance by the coach and a mediocre experience for the students.
No Curriculum: Does your coach have a well-planned curriculum where each class or time period is well thought out or is your coach just winging it with random moves? It is hard to learn, let alone master a movement or technique if it is only taught once and never seen again. Whereas, if there is a curriculum, students will be able to learn a set of techniques over a period of time and build upon it so it can become an applicable part of their BJJ tool box.
Class starts late or ends early: 12 PM class starts at 12:15 and you are paying for the 15 minutes you aren’t getting in drilling and training. Punctuality, especially when you are paying for a service is key. If you are paying $100 a month for x number of 1 hour classes, your coach is stealing $25 from your wallet if he/she is consistently starting classes 15 minutes late. Being consistently late is a sign of a coach’s lack of consideration and professionalism.
Class is more warm-ups and rolling then instruction: When I was in elementary and high school, you knew which teachers mailed it in and were just collecting a paycheck. These teachers just assigned you to read in silence or handed out dittos for most classes rather than actually get in front of the class and teach. The BJJ equivalent of this is to have long warm ups, limit the actual amount of time instructing students, then have students roll for most of the class. While some students prefer more time to roll and train, consistently using this format limits the amount of time for students to learn and practice new techniques.
Constantly checking phone during class: Its one thing to check the phone once or twice during class, but if the coach’s head is buried on the phone and swiping right on Tinder while you are drilling and training, it is not a good sign. It is difficult to instruct in class while reading the lildeb69xxx’s Tinder profile. A good BJJ coach will walk around the mats during drilling to answer questions and help out students struggling with a technique or flow. It is difficult to observe how students are progressing through drills if the coach isn’t actively walking around to see if the students are picking up on the small details that make the techniques work.