I love BJJ and I Iove to train, actually, I love keeping fit full stop but often due to family or work, I may not get to train as many days as I would like to. This is not a unique problem and its one that many of us have to deal with. In a perfect world we could train 5, 6 or even 7 days a week but we don't live in a perfect world.
During those days where I can't train in BJJ, I can keep fit at home... I can do my cardio at home and I can even do strength training at home but I cant spar at home (yet!). If you are serious about BJJ and want to keep improving you can actually drill at home to help improve your game.
Drilling at home is not just confined to those who can't make class, some people just want to improve as quickly as possible and have the time to supplement their training with at home drilling (lucky sods!)
There are a lot of excellent solo movement drills in BJJ that can be very helpful at improving your overall game, obviously they will never be as good as actual class time and rolling but they are better than doing nothing as they will help with conditioning, endurance and technique.
For me, conditioning is where I often fall down. I am 36 with a 20 month old tornado of a son. I have done a lot of sports over the years and had a LOT of injuries. My job is very tough mentally and I find that often when I get home, I am just too tired. Only the thoughts of BJJ is enough to stimulate me to do anything so I have started drilling at home as it excites me to work on specific areas so that when I do get down to the gym, I know that I will be that little bit better than the last time, and that is enough of a carrot to get me off my ass. Don't get me wrong, if you really want to increase your endurance then hitting the gym or going on a long run would be better but I drill at home because it helps my BJJ game and that is enough to stimulate me.
The other benefit for me is that it improves my technique and we all know that if you keep doing something over and over again, you will master the technique. As Bruce Lee said, its is not the man that has practiced 10,000 kicks once that I fear but the man that has practiced 1 kick 10,000 times. Drilling will assist in the development of movement, which in turn will develop your technique.
Drills are a very effective way to memorise movements so they become reflex and not something you need to think about. You will end up doing them automatically as a response and that split second where you react automatically rather than having to think, could end up giving you the space you require to escape.
Movements like shrimping, sprawling, bridging and penetration steps need lots of repetition to become smooth and instinctive, and drilling is all about getting maximum repetition in minimum time. If you're thinking about the right way to move your hips, transfer your weight, roll over your shoulder, etc. your game will continue to improve even when you’re not in class. You will also find yourself asking why you are doing this and what is the best way, and this will in turn assist in the development of your game as you understand the movements better.
Remember though, drilling only helps your progress, in order to make actual progress you need to be rolling and doing classes - there is no substitute for that.
Here is some good examples of at home drilling: