There could be a few underlying reasons why you are not able to be as effective in competition as you are training in your home academy.
This is not an uncommon situation in combat sports. Some athletes have shown all of the raw potential in the world but seem to be unable to bring it altogether under the bright lights of the competition stage.
1) There is a popular expression calling some fighters “gym fighters”. Superstars in their home gym that seem incapable of performing at the same level in a competition.
For some, their performance is impaired by anxiety and pre match nerves.
Sports psychologists call this “sports performance anxiety”.
They function well in the gym without the pressure and stiffen and seize up due to competition nerves.
As one commenter on Reddit said: “In the academy, if you make a mistake, it doesn’t matter. If you get tapped, no one is watching, you reset, slap, bump, roll again.
Obviously, at a tournament, this is completely different. You’re putting pressure on yourself because you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of an audience.”
One training partner of mine was talking about an immensely talented jiu-jitsu black belt who never seemed to translate that skill to the championships.
He had a great quote: “God touched the black belt and said you’ll be the greatest jiu-jitsu player,.. but you’ll not be able to compete.”
Conversely, there are guys who are the opposite. They are middle of the pack in the home academy but seem to come to life and raise their level in the stress of competition. Big game players.
Are you experiencing significant stress before your competitions?
2) Big fish in a small pond?
I don’t say this in a negative way, or wish to disparage your academy. I don’t know anything about your gym or background.
I recall watching past state championships where teams from all over the state would come to compete.
The teams from the smaller towns had a much tougher time in the BIG championships than the larger, big city academies.
You might be the “toughest guy in the small garage gym” but when the level of competition is much higher at a big tournament (like the Pan Ams), you will directly feel that leap in competition!
Holes that have in your game will reveal themselves facing a higher level of opposition.
You might be able to get away with it in the home gym, but the big sharks will expose it at the higher levels.