- Stay Calm/Manage Your Emotions
The very first thing you need to remember as you enter the ring to spar is to stay relaxed. Letting anxiety and emotion get the better of you can lead to two opposing paths, each very damaging. Being too fired up can make you overly aggressive – attacking when there is no opportunity to land, and burning energy reserves early. A tight, tense frame will hinder fluidity through the kinetic chain of a shot, making punches slower and more predictable. Anger is a very powerful emotion that can make a fighter forget about their schooling, lunging forward throwing punches behind an abysmal defence. An experienced counter puncher will take full advantage of this aggression, waiting and striking at the perfect moment of over commitment. Watch bellow to see how this careless over aggression plays out at even the highest level:
On the other side of the coin, anxiety can be equally damaging. Letting fear consume you can leave a fighter overly defensive, and non-committal. Although at the more advanced level it can be beneficial to limit sparring to defence work only, it is not the best strategy for open sparring. This is especially so for beginners who have yet to properly master the art of defense. Not to mention a fight cannot be won without an attack. Repetitive defensive sparring can lead to this being ingrained in a fighter, so much so that this will be reflected in competition. Also in similar fashion to being overly fired up, anxiety can lead to a fighter forgetting their schooling. For example dropping their gloves or moving their head wildly and dangerously to avoid being hit. An anxious fighter may also pull back their punches in their propensity to defend. The effects of this are twofold. First the punches are less powerful/accurate which invites your opponent to pressure you, as they have nothing to keep them wary. Secondly an improper technique throwing punches is the quickest way to injury. Again this anxious state elevates the heart rate burning excessive energy.
Though this comes with experience, it is important early on to manage emotions. Allowing your physical, and mental state to be consumed by these bipolar states of emotion can be disastrous in a boxing ring. Although each fighter varies, it is universally known in sport, that peak levels of performance can be found in the middle of these 2 emotional states. Visualisation, breathing techniques and external stimuli, such as linguistic coaching, and music are excellent ways to alter emotional states for fighting.
This video also highlights the mental complexities of boxing:
If you liked this then check out Kombat Kaiser’s playlist on – How To Box: