Rolling strategy?

When you roll (in practice, not in competition), what's your mindset?

Do you:

a) focus on whatever you're working on, and try to force it no matter what?

b) come up with a strategy depending on your training partner?

c) just start with no pre-concept, and go with whatever that happens.

I'm usually a (and c, when I just want to play).
For example, let's say that I decided to work on my closed guard. I pull guard with everyone, but I'm also tired of getting crushed by bigger guys (I'm small).
Recently I've noticed myself using closed guard against guys my size, but against bigger guys, I'm avoiding it and doing something else.

Am I losing focus? Should I stubbornly stick with the closed guard? Or is it smarter to realize the limitation and use different strategies?


I would say C, but try new things I've seen on the internet. If the intensity picks up I'll go back to basics. If your just starting keep using your closed guard and only open up when you go for a sweep/reversal, if your alot smaller and just starting I wouldnt even try for subs from the bottom yet.

I have set ups for each position I find myself in. I have setups for the guard pass, mount, close guard, open guard, etc. I also have combinations for each position as well.

I don't like to play with no pre-concept because it leads to random and waste movement/motion.

I always practice my set-ups and combinations (as well as transitions) before I even use them in sparring. When I do spar I actually "test" my setups. combinations (and transitions). Sparring lets me know if my practice is on point or if I need to tighting it up.

Whenever I find myself in certain positions in sparring I automatically move myself (or endeavor to aumtomatically move myself which is the point of drillings) into the right position to setup whatever I need to do. So if I'm in someones close guard I automatically make sure I have good base/posture then move from there.

I try to do everything methodically. This way I am not wasting movement or energy.

One tip my Bjj coach gave me is to study each position you find yourself in relation to your opponent and think of the possible (and logical) action and reaction your opponent can do in each position. True be told there is only some many logical and productive options your opponent has to do. My coach said to prepare myself to appropriately react to each of your opponent's actions/reactions.
This is what I do when I practice.

The key to doing this is to develop good reaction/respone time as well as the ability to transition (change from position to position) very well. Again this is the point of drilling.