When thinking about professional fighters and how they prepare for their matches, most of us will imagine rigorous exercise, working out until you drop down to the floor in exhaustion, and sparing with many opponents. We will imagine fighter movie heroes like Rocky, Yuri Boyka, Van Damme, and so on.
The missing part, for which the general audience usually shows no interest, is the psychological part of the preparation process. In many of his recent interviews, Mike Tyson said how he always felt fear and a lot of pressure before entering a ring.
If the best of us have similar psychological issues, how can we expect to handle them in the best way and not let fear and over-thinking negatively affect our performance during a fight?
Each fighter and his coach have their own methods. There is not a single recipe that works for everyone. In this short article, we will explore meditation and its effects on the fighter’s mind.
- Increasing Attention Span
In our modern age, most of us have a tremendously short attention span. Science is putting the blame on modern technology and the way we use it. There is so much entertainment out there and we just jump from one tab to the other, instead of dedicating hours at a time to a good book, for example. Consequently, this becomes our habit.
Our minds are created in a way to become better in any activity we practice as a routine. If you’re not focused in most of your daily activities, with the time you will become better at it.
There are many forms of meditation focused on improving the health of your mind and your concentration. Logically, if you are more concentrated and your attention spans are much longer than those of your opponent, your chances to win are higher.
“The most basic form of meditation is to focus on your breath, but there are many others. If you find it hard to stop your mind from wandering around, you can also try guided meditation and follow the speaker’s voice”, says Ben Sovann, a writer at Studicus.
- Power of Visualisation
If you had a chance to follow a guided meditation or hypnosis videos or tapes, you will notice the emphasis that’s placed upon visualization. It’s a method that’s also used in psychotherapy because it has a powerful effect on the psyche and your ability to process emotions and thoughts.
Visualizing your fights, preparations, motivations will help you to prepare your body to respond better when it’s put into a fighter mode later on. In other words, you will eliminate the experience of the new and unexpected when stepping into the ring.
The most famous example of how successful this type of meditation can be are early 2000’s LA Lakers, where Phil Jackson insisted on his players to visualize their future battles and success. He’s not called “Zen Master” for no reason.
- Preparing for Mind Games
In the modern era of fighting, a fighter has to do much more than just show up and fight. There is a life outside of the ring with its own challenges, sometimes harder than the fights themselves. A fighter is surrounded by many people and many others are looking upon them as idols.
When you start practicing meditation, with time it brings clarity to the mind and to your senses. Your inner strength and wisdom will improve a bit with every sitting.
With more practice, you will probably light up a spark of curiosity in your mind to research more about the meditation process, it’s history, and famous yogis. You will find a lot of wisdom there. As a result, you’ll find grounding amid the hectic everyday world and social relationships.
- Fighting Negative Self-Talk
Self-talk that doubts your capacities as a fighter or your abilities can have a real, palpable effect on your actual ability to fight. As a fighter who meditates, you need to find modes of thinking that will allow your true self to blossom and improve. Many people use mantras as a way to engrave positive thinking into your mind. For others, the practice of meditation is a good way to silence that negative self-talk.
You can read academic essays and reports from sites such as GrabMyEssay (a platform of professional essay writers) or SupremeDissertations (academic writing service) to find out more about the connection between thoughts and behavior.
How to Do It Right?
- There is no aim in meditation. Meditation is a goal in itself. Don’t pressure yourself to achieve some meditation goals. It’s really hard for a human to evaluate his own state of mind and it would be impossible to evaluate if you have improved in meditation. Rather, you’ll start noticing benefits and relief, but you probably won’t perceive it as an improvement.
- You should be patient. In order to achieve improvements, you have to practice daily and you might notice after 2 or 3 months some subtle effects such as more clarity in your thought or more calmness in your being.
- Start slow and increase gradually over time. Set aside 5 minutes or even 1 minute for the first day and go from there. Don’t force yourself to sit 2 minutes day after. Meditation is not about that. It’s about clarity and unity. Clarity of the mind and unity with the universe. If you force yourself to sit more, your attention will be focused on how long you’re sitting and not on meditation itself.
Meditation has many benefits for the modern fighter. Mostly, it will have a strong effect of relaxing you and letting your unconscious take over. It will silence any thoughts of doubt or fear that you may have. So, if you’re struggling with the psychological dimension of your sport, meditation is definitely the first thing that you should try.
Dorian Martin is a professional writer and content creator working with TrustMyPaper and WowGrade, among other companies. He’s also an essay contributor at BestEssayEducation, where he specializes in topics of health, fitness, and nutrition.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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