Updated: Jan 19, 2020
How to Strengthen Your Mind and Be the Best Fighter You Can Be
For any individual participating in a combat sport from boxing to Brazilian jiu jitsu, having the right mindset is key to success. You can’t improve as a martial artist and an athlete if you don’t work on believing in yourself and being mentally prepared.
Here are four things to keep in mind when it comes to overcoming performance anxiety and fight to the best of your ability:
Anxiety is normal
You have to recognize that everyone gets butterflies and feels anxiety on different levels. Many fighters in the UFC from Georges St. Pierre to Donald Cerrone have experienced and continue to experience anxiety and panic attacks. Cerrone pursues extreme sports in order to ignore the nerves he’s trying to manage leading up to a fight. St. Pierre has struggled with sleep in the nights prior to a battle in the octagon.
Do you feel stress when preparing for a tournament? Do you feel like puking at times? Are you jittery leading up to the moment you go for your first takedown or attempt your first kick? All that means is you’re normal. There’s no need to feel like you’re all alone and no one else knows what you’re going through.
Preparation is key so put in the work
You can’t pull off a roundhouse kick in the cage if you don’t practice it in the gym with your coach and training partners. There are a few ways to make sure that you’re putting in the work before a tournament or a single fight.
One of the ways to ensure that you’re putting in the work is creating a game plan with your coach/trainer. Your coach is someone is with experience who has helped other fighters successfully prepare for competition. By developing a game plan, you will know what to work on every time you step foot in the gym. Your time in the gym is the time to focus on drilling technique and building up your lung capacity. It’s ok to get in the zone when working with your training partners.
Visualize your desired outcome
Always envision your victory and how you’ll get there. You can prepare yourself physically and mentally in different situations with visualization. Visualize different scenarios you’ll encounter in your next match and what you will do in each situation. Ask yourself what you will do after your opponent attempts a blast double or a cross three times in a row. Review in your mind your favourite combinations, sweeps, and submissions. Mentally step into the moment of competition walk through how you’ll feel, what you’ll hear, and what you will do to finish the fight.
Trust your training
When all is said and done, it’s you and you alone who will have to face your opponents. Once you step on the mat or in the ring, it’s time to let your training take over. Remember that no one rises to the occasion when it’s fight time. You did your very best in the gym and have visualized your victory before it even happened. That being said, trust in your training and fight with confidence.