MMA fighters do a lot to take care of their bodies and they should. An MMA fighter’s body is their bread and butter, so fighters need to pay close attention to keeping their bodies in top shape. Conditioning, strength training, speed and agility training, recovery, diet and injury management are necessary to be in peak fighting condition. In addition, fighters will supplement their diet with BCCAs, vitamins, protein powder, pre-workout drinks and recovery shakes to give themselves the necessary fuel to train and compete at a high level.
Despite all this attention to be at your best come fight day, there is one supplement that fighters overlook… MENTAL TRAINING!
You may think, mental training is for weak fighters or head cases but that is not true at all.
There are areas in fighting that have a profound mental component:
Cutting Weight – There are not many things in the world of sport as mentally draining as cutting weight. At times, fighters want to give up after hours of sweating and still need to push further to lose 1-2 extra pounds.
Pushing in Training – Training is hard but pushing in training is quite another story. If you don’t have the mental fortitude to push in training, you won’t be able to push through in fights when it matters most
Nerves before entering the ring – Every fighter is nervous before entering the ring, no matter how much they trash talk before the fight. The ability to manage those nerves is necessary to settle yourself early in the fight.
Responding after a barrage of blows – Getting rocked by an overhand right or a devastating kick to the side of your head requires that you regain your composure quickly.
Losing rounds early in the fight – When you are down in the fight, the tendency is to go for the knockout blow which often leaves you open to being knocked out yourself. Staying focused on your game plan and the advice from your corner is critical in taking back the fight.
Managing in-ring emotions – Frustration is your enemy. If you allow your negative emotions to dominate, you give your opponent a huge mental advantage.
Dealing with exhaustion near the end of a fight – Being tired is as much mental as it is physical. Pushing past comfort is often the difference-maker at the end of a fight.
Dealing with a loss – No one likes to lose but if you don’t learn from the loss, you lose TWICE!
Not overlooking an opponent – A lesser ranked opponent can pull off a big upset if you take them for granted. If you are not focused on the fight in front of you, then good luck! All it takes is one punch.
If you are not supplementing your physical training with your mental training, then your are only half-prepared.