Training Jiu-Jitsu is important. How important it is to each individual is another story and thus, setting up an appropriate Jiu-Jitsu training plan will be largely influential in how effectively you can reach your goals.
The reality is that in we all want to be on the mats as much as possible. We strive for X amount of hours each week because we believe that the more hours we put in, the closer we will get to our goals. How much we actually train and how much we want to train, however, are two very different things.
Over the years, I have experimented with a lot of different training plans. I set aside a certain amount of hours each week and always adjust them depending on what I have going on in my life. I have found that of all measurable components, consistency is the most important to me. In order to maintain consistency, I try very hard to schedule my time so to limit disruptions in order to make a weekly goal more manageable and thus, more achievable. The end result is that no matter what is going on in my life, I am still on the mats 10+ hours (barring vacation or catastrophic injury).
Is Your Training Plan Wishful Thinking?
Take this situation for example:
Person A has 10 extra hours each week to train. Person A is overzealous and is super committed to training. He schedules 6 days, 10 hours each week. For the month, this should equal to 24 days and 40 hours (given four weeks in a month… It’s February).
Person B has 10 extra hours each week to train. Person B loves to train but knows that his life is pretty happenstance. Things come up every now and again. He schedules 3 days and 6 hours each week. For the month, he plans 12 days, 24 hours.
Week 1: Just so happens nothing came up and he was able to train 6 days, 10 hours. A bonus 3 days and 4 hours.
Week 2: Has to work late one day but manages to get a couple of extra training days in 5 days, 9 hours.
Week 3: Wedding to attend over the weekend. 3 days, 6 hours.
Week 4: Hungover from wedding and misses a training day but gets in a couple of extra days: 5 days, 8 hours.
Person B trained a total of 19 days, 33 hours. The EXACT SAME as Person A, but who do you think feels better? One person missed his mark and the other totally exceeded expectations.
The Good Training Plan That You Follow is Better Than the Perfect Training Plan That You Don’t
Life is constantly changing so therefore, we must adapt. What makes a program successful (beyond effectiveness and efficiency) then is how well you can adhere to it. The more strict a program is, the less likely you are to follow it. Research into adherence rates supports this claim. Such it is with the amount of hours you devote to training. If the amount of hours you plan is unrealistic and leaves you with next to no time for anything else, you will likely fail and feel horrible about it.