THE hardest and most crucial time for fight preparations are often in the final stages. Camp has gone well, health and energy levels are high and confidence is where it should be. Right?… Wrong!
With every training camp there will always be hiccups and accidents, if there isn’t then it means you probably haven’t pushed yourself hard enough. There is a fine line between ‘over-cooking it’ and ‘under cooking it’ however in the closing week then the less is more approach would definitely be something I would recommend. Where in academics you may be able to cram revision into the last week before a test with good results, athletic performance does not work the same way!
Fitness and strength should have been built up significantly over the course of the camp and then maintained as you come into the ‘making weight’ and ‘peaking’ stages.
Runs should be condensed into shorter, sharper bursts. Keep rest times high to avoid muscle breakdown and risk of injury however. Remember – fitness and strength will not increase in a week period. However with correct rest, recovery and repair you may actually see an indirect improvement in strength and fitness.
Sparring should also be avoided in the final week to avoid unnecessary injuries, cuts or bruises. Work instead with padwork, shadow boxing and bag work to keep your reactions sharp, weight down and body moving.
As you draw nearer to fight night it is normal to doubt yourself. I had the pleasure of giving advice to a white collar fighter who was undertaking his first contest last week. He was shocked but immediately pleased to realise that the feelings of anxiety, nerves and apprehension are common even amongst world title challengers and champions.
Take comfort in the fact that your opponent is going through the same wave of emotions you are, try to embrace the nervous energy and make it work for you, adrenaline and the feeling of butterflies will help with raising sharpness and providing extra energy.
Summary for the Final week:
Less is more approach.
Fitness & strength won’t improve, rest will give you added energy and strength.
Shorter sharper runs.
Less rounds, but sharper.
Embrace the feelings of anxiety.
Trust in your preparation.
Most importantly enjoy the whole experience.