Coaching Kids Will Brighten Up Your Week (Athlete Journal 47)

I didn’t train as hard as I would have liked to this week, but I did get to coach a group of kids at a tournament.

I was so ready to get back to training this week and go ham, but I’m still having trouble with my elbow. I was able to practice the moves and roll, but I couldn’t go as hard as I wanted to. On the bright side, I got to go with six of our kids to a NAGA tournament on Saturday, and they all did amazing.

This Week’s Training

Last week a cold and pain in my elbow put me out of training for the whole week. I couldn’t do much rolling or drilling at all. I was able to practice some self defense moves with Dominic, but that was pretty much it. I was planning on it being better by Monday, but when I woke up it was still bad.

I went to lifting Monday morning anyway because I had my heart set on training hard this week. I was able to deadlift without any issues because I didn’t have to bend my elbow. But as soon as I tried to do shoulder presses it hurt a lot. I couldn’t finish my workout, which sucked. I talked to my trainer, Mike, and he said he thinks I have tendonitis in my elbow from all the pulling motions we do in jiu jitsu. I’ve been icing it all week and it’s definitely getting better, but I’m not back 100% yet.

Icing my elbow all week helped me out a lot. Even though I had to take it easy, I was still on the mat getting some work in. This week in class Frank and Dominic taught side control techniques. Frank focused on different escapes from the bottom, whereas Dom focused on attacks from the top position. This didn’t bother my elbow at all, so it was a good week of drilling and learning.

I got a few rolls in this week, but not as many as I would have liked. My elbow hurts to touch, so I kept a brace on it all week to keep it padded and protected. I’m not sure if the brace was actually helping or if I was just having withdrawals from not rolling, but my elbow didn’t feel too bad during the rounds I did. The only time I had problems was when I was stuck in a tight bottom side control or if someone straight-up grabbed my elbow. I didn’t let it hold me back, though. I winced a little, but I fought through it because I missed training so much.

Coaching a Kids’ Tournament

Last Saturday, six of our Scranton MMA kids went to a North American Grappling Association (NAGA) tournament in New York to compete. Just having that number of kids who wanted to compete was awesome. The drive to the venue was pretty long, but Frank and I were excited to get out there and coach our kids to the podium. It was tough watching people compete and not being able to do so yourself, but coaching people during a match is one of my favorite things to do. I get pretty into it, but this time I held back a little because they were just kids. I don’t care if they win or lose. As long as they learn something and have fun, I’m happy.

The great news is everyone came home with a medal or two and even a samurai sword! It was so much fun seeing the kids win matches and stand up on the podium. Congratulations to Luke, Eric, Shayla, Mila, Pantelis, and Tommy for going out there and giving it all you got. Everyone at Scranton MMA is proud of you guys.

That was my week in a nutshell. Training was decent despite my elbow, and I got to see all of our kids’ hard work pay off. I’d say this week was a good one, but I can’t wait to be back at it 100%. My next big goal is the No Gi Pan Ams, and I’m hungry for the gold.

Jess Papi is a blue belt at Scranton MMA and also pursuing her degree in exercise science. Read her entries every week for insights on competing, training, and juggling BJJ and life.

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