Psychology in Boxing, Training the Mind

No matter how skilful or gifted someone may be physically, in boxing this can count for nothing if he or she is not correctly attuned mentally. A lack of preparation , worries over performance, a loss of confidence – all these can be poison to a boxer’s performance. The world of boxing is littered with individuals who never gained the success that their talent suggested they should have had. The following points have been written in order to help you understand and manage the mental aspect of boxing. (1) Give It Your All When training, train as though you are training for the heavyweight championship of the world.

Give it your all. Remember that there is someone out there that you are going to have to fight. Ask yourself if you are giving all that you can give. Are you training harder than your opponent is? The person that works the hardest is going to win. I always wondered what my opponent was doing. How many miles does he run a day? How many rounds does he do on the punching bag? Is he sitting playing video games right now, or is he training? If you are a boxer, a fight is unavoidable. Are you going to be prepared for that day? REMEMBER, THE PERSON THAT WORKS THE HARDEST IS GOING TO WIN! (2) Avoid Letting Your Opponent Psyche You Out

Sometimes it’s best to not look at your opponent while your waiting around for your fight. Your opponent may appear to be stronger than you are. He/she may look meaner or tougher than you. If your opponent seems to you to be more confident, then your going to start wondering what he has that makes him so confident. All these things can intimidate you and psyche you out, especially if you’re a beginner boxer who is not sure of your abilities yet. That’s why I think it is more beneficial to avoid your competition and pay no attention to him/her until you step in the ring and get busy. (3) Hanging Out Before a Fight

Find something to keep you busy until your fight. Bring a book to read, a deck of cards, talk to your team mates and coach, etc. Just conversing or listening to other boxers can get you psyched out. If you start to listen about how tough other fighters think they are or how much more experience they have, then that may affect you mentally. Hearing how good others are may make you feel less of yourself and result in you getting psyched out. Try wearing a set of headphones and not listening or talking to others until your fight. Find a quiet place to hang out. Take that time to relax and use imagery to prepare you for the fight.

If you’ve videoed yourself training, then watch the tape. Sometimes watching yourself train will help trigger you into the zone you need to be in. (4) What Image Does Your Opponent Have of You By keeping to yourself, you can keep your competition wondering about you. Let their imagination run by being ambiguous. If you goof around and run your mouth before a competition, then your competition’s going to take you as a punk. Act like you could care less who you have to fight and pay no attention to the competition. Let them look and wonder about you instead of you paying attention to them.

Don’t act cocky though. In my experience, those who act cocky or overly tough are usually not the guys to worry about. The guys to worry about are the ones who are laid back minding their own business. (5) Take the Cheers, Lose the Boo’s Don’t listen to the crowd when they boo. Remember, you’re the one in there fighting and they’re the ones standing back watching. 95% of the crowd would never have the courage to get in the ring and do what you have to. Let those punks who boo get in the ring and try it. Feed off the crowd when they cheer. When the crowd is behind you, you get a burst of adrenaline.

Nothing feels better when you have the crowd off their feet cheering you on. (6) Don’t Get Over Confident Good confidence is great. Over confidence can kill you. Being overconfident leads to under-training and risky fighting. Some boxers get it in their head that they are the best and because of that they don’t have to train as hard. Never slack during training. Push yourself always to do better. Never underestimate your competition and take risky chances in the ring. The moment you start taking too many risks is the moment you get knocked out. It only takes one punch from any fighter, good or bad, to knock you on your arse.

Strive for perfection always and keep humble about your skills. (7) Pushing Yourself I always considered the true training to begin when I was at the point of exhaustion. In most fights, there comes a point when both fighters are exhausted. This is the defining moment. The boxer who decides to put forth that extra step is probably going to win. It’s called having “heart. ” A champion throws that extra combination when most fighters wouldn’t. A champion keeps his hands up and defends himself when most fighters wouldn’t. A champion gives two punches for every one received. A champion goes that extra step.

And where do you condition yourself to do that? In training. You start with that attitude from the beginning and you carry it till the end. If you constantly push yourself and say you can do more, you will become an effective boxer. Attitude is the main ingredient towards making a champion. So remember, YOUR TRAINING BEGINS WHERE MOST BOXER’S END. (8) Sparring Sparring is important in your training. This is where you can make mistakes and correct them. You can’t do that in competition. You can work on more defence one-day and then more offence the next. You can try out new combinations during sparring sessions.

This is practice for the actual fight. Sparring is where you learn your weaknesses and strengths. If you’re dropping your left, your coach can see it and help you correct that. Or your sparring partner will let you know by popping you one when you do it. Sparring should not be a negative part of your training. Make sure you are sparring with someone at your level or at least someone that isn’t going to knock you around and use you as a punching bag. Like I said earlier, if you get beat up everyday during sparring, you will become a defensive boxer and you will not want to fight in a competition situation.

Some fighters just learn to survive in the ring and never learn how to win. I would rather you fight someone below your level than someone who is just going to knock you around. (9) Judge Yourself at Your Level and Not Someone Else’s It’s easy to get discouraged if you’re not excelling as fast as others. You have to put the time in before you can learn the skills. Your skill level depends on the amount of time and dedication you put in. Skill comes with time and experience. That’s why you must judge yourself at your own level and not someone else’s. (10) You Should Feel Proud Just For Stepping Into the Ring

I’ve played many sports and I’ve found boxing to be, by far, the most demanding and rewarding sport of them all. Boxing demands sacrifice and dedication. Someone who is lazy and undisciplined is not going to make it as a boxer. To win in boxing, you must be an outstanding athlete. 90% of boxing is up to you. Your coaches can’t make you an athlete they can only polish you up. The foundation has to already be there for a coach to build off from. (11) Boxing Can Relieve Stress Boxing is a good way to relieve stress. Imagine the bag being someone you can’t stand. You can bang away at it and not them.

That way you relieve stress and not go to jail for taking your frustrations out on them. It gives you time to yourself away from the everyday hassles you may encounter. You feel more in control when you have a good workout. Boxing builds self-esteem and lowers self-doubt. Thus creating a feeling of being in control with more power over the stressful things in your life. (12) Prioritize Your Goals Deciding what is important for you to achieve, and what is irrelevant is crucial to developing yourself mentally for the fight. You need only worry yourself with what matters in your fight.

The less you place on your list of things to do, the more you can concentrate on those things you have on it (i. e. training, nutrition, etc. ). (13) Everyday Goals Build your self-confidence based on measured achievement of goals. Everyday set a particular goal and try to achieve it. Maybe you’ll try to hit the bag 200 times in two minutes or go maybe go 5 rounds instead of 4. The little things you set out to achieve and then actually do achieve will build your self-confidence. And self-confidence is one of the most important things a boxer can have. (14) Types of Goals to Consider There are four types of goals to consider.

These are: Internal – Something about your personality that should be changed for greater competitive success (e. g. Become more… aggressive… relaxed… dedicated… organized… etc. ) Short Term – A series of goals to be accomplished in the near future(e. g. start training harder, get another fight out of the way, create a plan etc. ) Long Term – something you want to strive for in the distant future (e. g. fight for a big prize, large purse, title shot) Dream Goal – A task that seems almost unimaginable but not quite impossible e. g. Becoming the undisputed champion in your category.

Always keep your goals a few steps ahead of yourself. This is an old sales technique. If you want to sell ten cars, tell yourself that you want to sell 15. Chances are you’ll sell 12. If you tell yourself that you want to sell ten you will probably only sell eight. Always have your goals set a little farther ahead so you have something to reach for. When you start to get close to your long term goal re-evaluate your four sets of goals. Your long term goal will turn into a short term goal and before you know it your dream goal may become a long term goal, then eventually a short term goal.

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