1. You think you suck.
You'll probably always think you suck and it ain't so bad.
I've seen black belts berate themselves after a roll because they didn't hit a sequence of techniques that ended in a submission. Now do they suck as they described? Of course not, but their standard is set so high that they consider not reaching it as unacceptable.
Solution: Think about renegotiating your standard to something more realistic yet still challenging. No one further than you in their journey really thinks you suck, it's more that you aren't great yet.
If you do find yourself in an environment where even the more experienced guys make fun or overtly tell you how bad you are then maybe it is time to seek a more supportive gym, or at least say something about how you feel getting thrashed physically and mentally.
Which brings us to our next point....
2. You're unrealistic.
Maybe you don't suck, maybe you do.
I've never played water polo before and I am certain that if I wanted to, I could beat myself up over how bad I am at it.
But why would I?
If I started playing I'd frame my achievements realistically and use them to spur me on. I'd undoubtedly get better at defending or catching the ball which means I'm a hell of a lot better than not being able to do those things at all.
Solution: Chill about where you're at and take some satisfaction knowing that sucking means you got a wake-up-call about the discrepancy from where you are to to where you wish to be.
If you've been rolling for 6-12 months you're most likely a lot better than you think especially in comparison to people who do not train. If the poo hit the proverbial fan you could defend yourself in a confrontation and that's pretty badass.
3. You have no purpose or direction.
Frame your training and make it specific.
If you're training a certain technique or concept in class then you have purpose and direction mapped out for you.
The usual way that beginner grapplers go wrong here is learning the technique for roughly 50% of the class ad then sparring and forgetting everything that dear old coach spent trying to jam into your brain.
Solution: Either go live working that technique or position where you can implement it, or actively seek it out.
We remember what we value, like why your birthday is burned into your memory but your mum's might slip your mind.
So execute the classes learning in a roll and give it some practical value.
4. You make a lot of mistakes.
This one is obvious and so it should be.
However, there are two reasons in most cases that a grappler will do this.
The first is that you do not understand what is required of you in a position, and two is that you just go too damn fast for your own comprehension. When these two are wrking in combination against you it'd be actually stranger if you didn't make any mistakes.
Solution: Slow down and train with someone better than you.
Pick their brain for the fundamentals of the position and then practice it at a pace that you can comprehend each action taken.
5. You don't train the weakest parts of your game.
How many times have you trained a position you feel incompetent in?
Do you see the connection there? Heck, people will often avoid these positions making the progression to competency there even worse.
Solution: Combine the above together.
Renegotiate your standards whilst making them realistic.
Give training in that area some purpose.
Slow down and train it with someone in the know.
Grappling never gets easier, you just get better at it.
- Jake Anderson