Pre-blue belt advice
I think that before the rank of blue belt - you need to develop an overall game - a solid foundation that covers most of the basic positions - and gives you several options (both offense and defense) from each. You also need to be able to understand how to effectively transition between these positions.
Pre-blue belts - usually hold non-tenable positions longer than they have to. Eg: they are on the mount - opponent is putting them back into the guard (say: elbow escape) and they try to keep the mount. Wheras a blue belt or better, would be 'bailing out' (transitioning) as soon as he/she feels they are losing the mount.
Best analogy: the titanic is just about to hit the icebaerg - the black belts are already in the lifeboats with the women and the good food - the boat hits the iceberg - they brown belts are off, just after the black belts - the boat starts sinking - the purple belts take the last of the boats (sorry, no women) - the boat is going down - the blue belts have at least grabbed the life vests - cold, but alive) - the boat hits the ocean floor, the white belts are wondering why their violins are not sounding so good as they continue to play regardless.
In other words - the more experienced people deal with problems more easily, becasue they simply see them way early, and at best, avoid them completely. less experienced people - have to come up with solutions after they have let themselves get into trouble. Even less experienced people, are in the deepest of trouble before they even realise it.
Avoid the swamp to begin with! brush your teeth - and avoid a trip to the dentist. That's Black Belt dental hygiene!
So apart from good basics and an understanding of essential attacks and escapes, transitions are about the most important thing a pre blue or new blue can work on.
All of my beginners know - the first three big secrets to good grappling are:
POSITION - POSITION - POSITION
Also works for real estate!
So for the first two years of practice - we put loads of emphasis on that aspect of training (in all it's forms)
Please excuse the typo's - time is short.
PS; Any women that read this : please don't take offense at my analogy - just substitute 'women' for 'guys' - and all will be fine.