Combat Sports Project Est.2012
Combat Sports Project Est.2012

Speed and Reaction Training



It has been a hard week for me. I injured my lower back on Monday BJJ class and have been staying home for the whole week, doing nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing. I have been going through some old materials and books I keep around and decided to use the time I have, to write this article and give some tips on a very important topic in the preparation of an athlete- the speed and reaction training and eye- hand coordination.

First, lets divide the training into a few categories.

Starting with the general exercises:

1. Short distance sprints.

2. Dynamic speed games, using the help of a partner or a team.

3. Sport games (football, basketball and etc.).

4. Reaction to signal (executing specific movements immediately, when given a signal).


Now we can look into more specific exercises:

1. The athlete start on his knees, in the center of the mat. 3 or 4 of his training partners are lined in from of him, in a distance of 2-3 meters from him and 1-2 meters from each other, holding medicine balls. The training partners throw the balls at the athlete with no specific order or rhythm, so he cannot know the direction the next ball is gonna come from. This exercise requires higher alert, fast reaction and is taxing the speed and the strength endurance of the athlete.

2. Mat game with medicine balls.

On both sides of the mat, we put a small goals and divide the team in two. Then we have them play rugby, from their knees, The ball can be taken away with force, the teams can wrestle each other, but cannot get up on their feet.

The coach can change the rules any time he wants, making the game more interesting. Ha!

3. Short sprints with weight. The distance is 25- 30 meters, The weight can be up to 30% of the BW of the athlete.

4. Fast mat crawling (with or without the help of the legs).

5. Game with a partner.

The athlete is standing on the mat with his partner behind him, with stretched hands, touching his back. The partner have to apply a hold, and the athlete, standing in the front have to escape forward. The standing in the back partner, can feint a few moves, before he moves for the hold.

6. Throwing a wrestling dummy with maximum speed for 30 seconds (imitating your best throw).


Technical exercises:

1. Using a lighter partner, the athlete grabs and throws with maximum speed, increasing the velocity.

2. Working on defense and counter attacks:

a) The two grapplers are in front of each other. One of them holds the other by his wrists. His goal is to bring his partner down to the mat, using any technic or angle, where he can grab with both of is hands only one of his partner’s arm. The partner doesn’t know which harm will be grabbed or from which side is the attack coming.

b) The attacker holds his partner by both wrists and executes only one technic on randomly selected side. His partner have to defend or counter attack the move.

c) Same as in B, but the pair is moving around on the mat and the defending athlete is with covered eyes.

3. The grapplers do short sparrings of 1-2 minutes, working on specific details:

a) The coach gives secret instructions to both athletes, so they don’t know what is the goal of the other. Using feinting, one of the athletes have to be attacking with certain move from both sides, with maximum velocity. His partner have to defend and counter attack.

b) Both of the athletes are sparring with the fastest temp possible.

c) Bigger, stronger, but slower grappler is paired with fast paced partner.

Aaaand, let the games begin!

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