Welcome to our collective nightmare; all the gyms are shut, and none of us can train, or should I say welcome to 2020.
We're all in lock down and gyms are scrambling to offer some form of online training to their students in order to stay alive. However there is something that existed before Corona to help people learn from instructors that they couldn't visit in person. It has always been a small part of the jiu-jitsu scene and as yet there isn't even a fixed name for it. If we were to say instructionals, everyone would know what we're talking about, but online coaching has many different names, online privates, online mentoring, online coaching are a few. And it's still not clear what we mean, but whatever we call it, it's now growing.
Before Corona, online coaching was offered by a few notable instructors and competitors. One example of this would be Josh Hinger. Hinger announced on his podcast with Keenan Cornelius in 2019 that he had been doing 'online mentoring' for athletes to help them prepare for specific tournaments such as the Pan Ams. Swedish based American black belt, Jon Thomas, has been offering 'online privates' through his instagram and youtube channels for a number of years. Now that we're all in lock down, many instructors and athletes are talking about and offering it, two notable European athletes to do so are UK based grappler Ffion Davies, and Norweigen phenom Espen Mathiesen.
Online coaching is growing, and it might be a way to improve your jiujitsu, so what is it?
As with the name, the format is not yet decided, however there is a trend emerging for personal video break downs coupled with technique videos. The instructor will review footage of you rolling and provide a video break down for that video, analysing and highlighting all the mistakes you're making and proposing how to correct those mistakes. In the second part of the coaching session they send you technique videos demonstrating how to fix the errors they highlighted in your footage. These are usually recorded specifically for you, so not a link to buy their latest instructional on BJJ Fanatics, but focusing on the key details of the technique that you need help with.
How can online coaching be helpful? We asked Andy Brown, creator of the online coaching platform Corner Me, why he thinks online coaching is a good way to improve your jiujitsu, here was his answer:
Think about when you're training, you know back in 2019, you'd go to class, watch a technique, drill, and roll. Maybe once a month at the end of class your coach would walk over and say, "Hey, I saw you struggling with this... let me show you how to fix it.". We've all probably had this experience, and it's great when that happens, but it probably doesn't happen that often. Online coaching through Corner Me is getting a coach to break down every single mistake you're making and give you a fix for it.... Oh and also you can keep rewatching the break down and techniques over and over again.
Where can you get online coaching? It's relatively new, and not all competitors or athletes are doing it. Those that are will either be on a platform like Corner Me or they will advertise it to their followers via Instagram.