Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mind Over Matter

I’d like to thank everyone that read my first blog. Was a bit of an experiment, but got good feedback... so here I go again....

This topic is something that gets forgotten about...mental preparation when training and fighting. If you watch an athlete, in any discipline you think of their diet and their physical training. But it takes a lot more than being physically ready to be able to get in the ring and perform at your best. Any sports person reading this will know exactly what I’m talking about. I have been at shows, where I hear people sitting in the crowd say ‘I could do that easy’ but guarantee all they are thinking about is physically being about to do it.

From day one of training, already there is so much to mentally prepare for. Training 6 days a week for 8 weeks is a lot to put yourself through, like I say physically AND mentally.  It is evitable that you will get tired, will hate the thought of training again tomorrow and just want to eat comfort food....I get home from some sessions and just want to give up....but for me the long term goal out ways the short term effects. I find it is important to have an outlet away from training, or someone who can relate to you. Either team mates, or someone at home. Train hard in the gym then rant at home at how tired you are, but still get up the next day and train again. I guess with me emotions play a key part in the mental side of things. I’d say I hide what I am thinking pretty well, if I am tired, I still try and give 100%. I hope that if I do that during training, it will happen when fighting. ‘get on with it’ is what goes through my head alot!! People say I always look so calm before a fight, sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m like a duck in water, looks calm from the top but legs are going crazy underneath. Everyone deals with adrenaline, nerves and emotions different.
Another part of the mental training for me is your opponent. More often than not we are told who we are fighting, whether we know who they are or not, it is nice, for me anyway, to have that name in my head. In my first couple of fights I didn’t know who they were, and there wasn’t much on the internet about them. But now I have had a few more fights, I am fighting people who also had a few fights, so there is much more footage about. Some fighters aren’t fussed about who they are fighting, and don’t even care for a name....I am not one of those fighters I am afraid. I Google, I search and watch to find out information about my opponent. Some might say this is unhealthy, but for me I like to have that image in my head during training. It spurs me on and makes me train harder. I don’t like to watch footage of them to change my training to how they fight; I just like to know who she is.
Now there is a disadvantage to this. Although, like I said I don’t change my training based on my opponents style is does play on your mind. If you know your fighter a strong kicker, there are certain aspects you will work on more. However the disadvantage of this is opponents dropping out, or a change in opponents. That’s why I try and keep my training the same each time. At the end of the day you want to make it your fight, so training how you want and not concentrating too much on how the other person is training is 
probably the best way to look at it.

I wouldn’t say nerves disappear with more experience, I still get nervous, and I guess the likes of Ricky Hatton were still getting nervous in his last few fights. With adrenaline pumping round your body, nerves are inevitable. Dealing with them changes. Each individual finds their own way to deal with things; I like to chuck my head phones in and get on with things as normal. Obviously that doesn’t work for everyone. Finding your own way to deal with nerves is key to your performance. If you can manage your nerves better you will perform better. Some people loose before they have even got in the ring, purely because they have talked their way into a loss through nerves. ‘they are bigger than me’ ‘she’s taller than me’ ‘he has had loads of fights’ these are obviously natural thoughts, but don’t let them loose you the fight!

This topic could go on and on. There are different times like meeting your opponent at a weigh in and your walk out that people have different techniques for. I try to just act normal, if your opponent thinks you are nerves they will be at an advantage, but you will have the advantage if you are calmer and more prepared. Always think if you’ve trained hard, then most of the work is done, the fight is simple the time to show off your skills.

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