These are the 5 types of drills we use at SBG. Much of this material is taken from Matt Thornton, head instructor of SBG Portland and founder of SBGi.
1- Objective drills
2- Isolation drills
3- Call out drills
4- Re-set drills
5- Pocket drills
1- Objective drills:
Objective drills are drills that focus on a particular goal.
Using BJJ as an example, a drill where one side tries to pass the open guard and the other tries to hold the open guard, would be a simple objective based drill. Using the clinch, it could be one side tries to work a throw, one side defends. And using stand up, it could be one side trying to close the gap, and the other side working on staying off the fence/wall using footwork.
2- Isolation drills:
Isolation drills are drills that focus on a particular movement or technique.
Using BJJ as an example, a drill where one side tries to pass the guard using a knee over pass, and the other side defends, would be a simple isolation drill. Using the clinch it could be one side tries to execute a bodylock takedown, the other defends. And using stand up it could be one side working a jab, and the other side working head movement.
Isolation based drills are also fairly simple to create, and their purpose is to isolate a particular movement or technique.
3- Call out drills:
Call out drills are drills that focus on a particular set of transitions.
Using BJJ, our guard surfing drill is a great example. Guard surfing is a drill where the coach calls out a series of ten commands. For simplicity I will list only three, tripod (this is posting one hand on your opponents lower stomach while you pass), lift (this is just as it states, using the persons heels and then belt to stack them onto their back and pass), and push – pull (pulling and pushing your opponents legs/gi pants). One student is trying to pass the open guard and the other defends. As the coach calls out a new pressure i.e. “lift!”, all the students in the class will immediately switch to that type of movement. So in a 3 minute round the coach may call out “lift!”, “push – pull!”, “tripod!”, in any random order, and every few seconds. This forces students to transition from one type of pressure to the next very quickly.
4- Re – set drills:
Re-set drills are drills that focus on a particular position, or moment.
Using BJJ as an example, one side might start in an upright butterfly guard with a single underhook. When the coach yells “go”, one side tries to sweep or work whatever set of movements was introduced in class that day, while the other side defends. The key to a re-set drill is that once the rolling moves away from the particular position being worked (in this case an upright butterfly guard), you re-set and start again. This allows you to focus on one particular moment within a given match.
5- Pocket drills:
Pocket drills are drills that focus on a particular distance, or range.
Using BJJ as an example, you may have introduced a series of two or three sweeps for when your opponent is standing in your guard. Now its drill time, and a pocket drill is a great solution. One side essentially hangs out at the range in which the bottom person’s sweeps are available, their only objective is to keep base, keep standing. The other side gets to work cycling back and forth between their sweeps.