Of course there are an enormous number of mistakes that people can make. I do think, though, that there are two or three that overshadow all others.
These two are definitely at the top:
- Not practicing transition from standing to matwork. People in jiu-jitsu are poor at this because they mostly focus on groundwork and not so much on that split-second of opportunity as you go from standing to matwork. People in judo are poor at this because they generally focus on standing technique and don't give enough thought to matwork. People in mixed martial arts tend to be good at either standing or matwork, but, like people in judo, they tend to practice the two separately.
Not practicing matwork combinations. Judo players and mixed martial artists don't even give much thought to combinations from one groundwork technique to another. Jiu-jitsu players talk a lot about matwork combinations (at least the players I know), but they aren't as good at those combinations as I think they should be. They're just too damn slow. I will admit that MOST judo players do not have their ground game as their strong point, but those who do have an advantage over jiu-jitsu players in that the difference in judo rules has forced them to be sudden. In judo, you have, at most , 30 seconds and usually much less, to secure a pin or submission before the referee makes you stand up. (No, that's not the rule but it's the reality.)
So, those are definitely in my top two. Improving on those two aspects would make anyone's ground game over 100% better.
There is a third mistake which is not having an attack from every position. I'm debating with myself over that is as serious a mistake as the other two. Let's get this straight - if the only mat moves you have that succeed are from one position, say, when the other person is on all fours and you are standing in front - then the truth is that your matwork sucks and I don't care what your coach, dad and your girlfriend tell you. If you have good transition from standing to matwork and a few good matwork combinations, you can still get by okay if you only have successful attacks from two or three positions instead of eight. But, that's just being okay.
I'd call Jim & ask his opinion but it's late on the east coast and tomorrow morning I have to be up early to give a couple of guest lectures on statistics to middle school students in downtown LA.
So .... if anyone has any thoughts on this, please jump in.