Let’s Face It: You Sucked at Virtual Training in 2020

How To Improve Your Virtual Training


2020. It’s a sentence by itself. Let’s leave it behind and never look back.

Except we can’t do that. 

Martial arts schools and gyms have had a rough go. Most were shut down for some time, or, in 360 HQ’s case, still shut down. Many gyms did some sort of virtual training. Some have done outdoor training. Everyone scrambled to find different ways to still provide services to their students- to keep them healthy and happy during a worldwide pandemic.

And you tried to continue your training. You did the Zoom class. You signed up for an online course. You were motivated to keep up your momentum and keep your skills sharp.

But it was not the same.

You did not have your training partners. You did not have your coach yelling at you. You did not have the camaraderie of other people. You did not have the sounds and smells and feels of the gym. And your motivation waned. Quickly. Going to class virtually did not provide the same experience as in person. 

I’ll wait until I can train in person, you thought. And you’re still waiting.

Many people expect martial arts gyms to open at some point and go back exactly to the way things were. Some martial arts gyms are already open. But it is not business as usual.

Closing a business and then reopening it is not as simple as that- especially a business with recurring memberships. Once a gym reopens, it will not automatically be back to pre-COVID usage. People will think twice about training in a gym. Some people will choose not to come back. Some won’t have the disposable income to continue. Others have moved, have different jobs, scheduling conflicts. Some will not be interested anymore. There are a myriad of reasons why people will not be returning.

Which has many different effects on your gym and you. Your gym might not be able to stay in business. Your gym may not be able to have classes at full capacity. There might be reduced class offerings and reduced hours. This means your training will look different.  And for those in Los Angeles county, like 360 HQ, we don’t know what the guidelines will look like whenever we can reopen. 

What does this mean for you? 

You must pivot your training. You cannot expect the training you were doing pre-apocalypse to continue anytime soon. It pains me to say that. Because that is what we want. You, me, the rest of the world. But we have got to come to grips with reality. I know. I don’t want to either.

Now let’s talk about ways to improve outside of the gym:

Learning From Video

Learning from video has huge benefits- we have seen people fail and succeed learning from video. The people that succeed really put effort into learning. And because all they have are videos to learn from, they watch the video a billion times and put forth the effort to really mimic the movements. This is different from a class where you might watch an instructor do a technique, and then rely on that instructor to correct your technique later on. Learning only on video forces you to learn and correct yourself.

Video Yourself

Video yourself- this is a huge step, whether training by yourself or with others. It will help you critique yourself, which is even more important without a live instructor to keep watch. Sometimes an instructor will tell us 20 times to keep our right hand up during the jab, and it just does not stick with us. We watch ourselves on video one time, and think I have to keep my right hand up! Watching ourselves has powerful effects.

Send Videos of Your Training to Your Coach

Send videos of your training to your coach- if your coach is open to it, send videos of yourself training. Your coach can provide feedback to you, one of the biggest components missing from virtual training. This also helps to keep you accountable. If you coach gives you something to work on, you have a clearer direction, and will be more apt to follow up with your coach.

Work on Things You Are Embarrassed About

Work on things you’re embarrassed about- never throw kicks in class because yours are terrible? Embarrassed that your shadowboxing looks crazy? This is the perfect time to work on those things, in the comfort of your own home, without any onlookers. You can try new things without the fear of failure.

I would love 2021 to look completely different from 2020. But I would also like to be realistic. Especially about my training. I don’t want to waste over a year in my progress. Do you?

This is where we are. Let’s pivot our training so we can get better together.