MENTAL preparation. It could be the difference between winning and losing in the ring. Boxing is a grind. You have to dedicate an immense amount of time in the gym, the track and the weight room in order to be a solid fighter. Hard work and an incredible amount of preparation is needed to be ready for battle. If you are not ready to swap punches, you are literally putting yourself at serious risk.
Every boxer wants to go into the ring with the confidence that they did everything they could to make sure they are physically prepared. But one thing that may be the difference between winning and losing is being mentally prepared. If you are not mentally prepared, you have set yourself up for failure. Here are some tips on how to get your mind right:
PREPARE YOUR MIND BEFORE BATTLE
You have wrapped your hands, warmed up, slipped on your gloves, and now it is time for the ring walk. Your emotions are rampant. You may be stressed, worried, or even scared. If you let these emotions take over, you have already lost. Not only have the emotions sapped your energy, doubt starts to creep in. Your thoughts begin to get the best of you. You may start saying to yourself, “Have I ran enough? Have I sparred enough? Have I done enough mittwork?” This sort of self talk has to be eliminated from your psyche.
Being nervous or even scared before a fight is natural. It keeps you on your toes and does not allow you to underestimate your opponent. But the more exposure you get to boxing, the less nerve-wracking it becomes. You begin to grow more confident and familiar with the nuances of the sport. Once you get a few fights under your belt, you begin to say to yourself, “Hey, I’ve been here before. I’m going to be alright.”
HIT AND NOT GET HIT
The goal in boxing is to hit and not get hit. But even the great Floyd Mayweather Jr, who is arguably the greatest defensive fighter of all time gets hit. So knowing that, you have to be mentally prepared on how you are going to react when you take punches. What is your composure like when you get hit? Do you get angry? Do you get intimated? Do you retreat? Do you wince? NEVER SHOW YOUR OPPONENT OR THE JUDGES YOU ARE HURT. If you show you are hurt, your opponent will attack you like a shark seeing blood in the water. The judges will see the clean effective punch you got caught with and based on your reaction to the blow, give the round to your opponent.
If you get caught with a good shot, DO NOT PANIC. Stay calm. Act like nothing happened and keep boxing if you are still on your feet. Two things will happen in this instance. Your opponent may get discouraged because he just hit you as hard as he could and it looked like it did not effect you. It will cause him to stress and wonder what he has to do to hurt you. The second thing is that the judges saw the blow did not phase you. Even though the punch was clean it may not look effective. The judges may end up giving you the round if YOU crack your opponent with a good shot that ends up hurting him.
KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE WHEN YOU ARE FATIGUED
Fatigue sets in when you’re deep in the trenches in the fight. When you throw a lot of punches, you can get extremely tired. This is when your composure gets tested. You may end up getting caught during a barrage of punches and receive a standing eight count. What is your composure like? Do you shake your head and get mad at yourself? Do you bend down and look defeated? Keep your head up, bounce on the balls of your feet with your hands up ready to go. Once the referee says “box” get back to work. The judges may give your opponent the round, but that does not mean you have lost the fight.
MAKE SURE YOUR CORNER IS MENTALLY PREPARED
Your corner should be a huge asset in your mental preparation. Your corner not only has the responsibility to look after your wellbeing in the ring, they also have the responsibility to keep you mentally focused. But what is THEIR composure like in the corner? Do they inspire you, get you pumped, and ready take on all comers? Are THEY stressed and worried? Do they bark orders at you so loud that your opponent’s corner can hear them? Do they make you sit up straight on the stool, preventing you from slouching, looking dog-tired? Your corner should be mentally prepared and composed as well.
Physical preparation is of utmost importance in boxing. But without the mental component, it does not matter how physically prepared you are. Without the mental aspect, your opponent will not be the one that beats you. You have already beaten yourself.