Thread: Boxing Psychology
6/27/2007 11:53am, #1
I am pretty sure this will get Gitmo'd but I am hoping to get some advice on how to keep my head in the game while boxing.
I have been boxing since April and sparring a few rounds after each class since May. I have no problem striking and I am learning how to defend OK, but what I can't seem to do is keep my focus during the round. It goes like this - I take a punch to the head and I immediately start thinking about the latest stats on boxing-related brain injuries. A cuff in the ear makes me think about ugly cauliflower ears and how I don't want that! And my instructor is on my case about me turning my head whenever a flurry of head shots comes my way - it is making my jaw vulnerable, but at that point my 'get the fork out of there' instinct has kicked in.
That makes me sound very timid, but I am not - I press the action and I am not afraid to wade in when I see an opening. I think I could do a lot better though, if I could just get over the fear of injury and maintain mental agression. Is this something that comes with time, or is there a way to mentally train for it?
6/27/2007 11:57am, #2
Comes with time. There's no mental "training" or "trick". Spar more.Ranked #9 internationally at 118lbs by WIKBA http://www.womenkickboxing.com/wikba...rch%202009.htm
6/27/2007 12:00pm, #3
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
What are your goals?
If you are doing it for exercise, then put on some headgear and don’t worry about it.
If you want to compete, then you may have a problem.
I read a book once in High school, that I can’t remember the name of to save my life. It was about a kid growing up in the projects, and learning to box. As it turned out he had a physical talent for it, but in the end lacked what the author called the “Killer Instinct”
When his opponent would stumble, rather than stepping to finish him, he would back off and wait for him to recover. In the book he was also distracted by getting hit, much in the way you describe.
My suggestion is time. It will come with time, you will lose that fear of getting hit. I am not saying you are a coward, I am saying that getting hit in the head does not come natural to most humans, it takes time to adapt to that. In time if you stick with it, that natural fear will lessen. You will progress.
6/27/2007 12:56pm, #4
Originally Posted by Zyph
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
6/27/2007 12:58pm, #5
My suggestion is to work with your coach. I've helped people get over this before. The person hitting you should be wearing sparring gloves. They have a softer touch than normal gloves. You should be wearing training headgear preferably with check protectors. Then start sparring as normal.
The person you are fighting needs to be good enough to spar with you and still keep an eye on what you are doing. As soon as you turn away or close your eyes they need to say something. Initially just "Open your eyes" or "Hey look at me" These reminders help you realize when you are doing it and and Hopefully you will get tired of hearing them.
If that doesn't work your partner can go as far as stopping or dropping their hands every time you shy away from the shots. That way you can be trained to attack when you are getting scared. This training is much harder for the coach and they will have to be a lot better than you to do it.
6/27/2007 1:31pm, #6
I think the most important thing is understanding is that turning away, or blinking, is going to get you hurt worse than facing the punches head on. Just think logically, facing them you are taking blows on your shield. Turn, and they can land bombs on the back of your head. Really think about this and believe it.
Are you interspersing defensive moves in your shadowboxing? Are you truly envisioning yourself being attacked, or are you just throwing punches? Shadow boxing is a very cerebral activity and if you're not creating an opponent in your mind your not getting nearly as much out of it as you could be.
You have to be fanatical about developing your defense. I spend a lot of time going through all the blocks, parries and evasive footwork. Just run through these moves a thousand times and you'll no longer have the incorrect "flight" response of turning away.
Another thing would be to try to re-program your mind's "oh ****, in trouble" response to attached not to getting hit, but to when your defenses go down. So every moment when your you're sparring and you catch yourself turning away, flinching, or letting your guard down you give yourself a little mental reprimand and make note of it in your memory. Then in the next 24 hours after practice try to think through all the times you made mistakes.
What you're doing is basically reprogramming (you could call it brainwashing) yourself to have a different response to a stimulus... This is a psychological feat!
6/27/2007 2:23pm, #7
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
This is hard for me to answer because during sparring is one of the few times that there is NEVER anything on my mind other than trying to hit my opponent without getting hit- unless it's something specific that I want to practice. It might be helpful to try sparring with just the jab for a while. It sucks getting hit with a stiff jab but if you're using at least 16 oz. gloves and head gear it's not going to be that bad. That might be a good way for you to learn the proper reactions. Other than that it seems to me that it's just a matter of spending more time sparring so that you get used to it.
6/28/2007 8:15am, #8Originally Posted by KidSpatulaYou can't make people smarter. You can expose them to information, but your responsibility stops there.
6/28/2007 9:11am, #9
Originally Posted by WhiteShark
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
This is certainly true in my gym; the coaches are always watching like a hawk and if they put someone in there with someone that's much better they make sure that it's constructive for the noob rather than letting it turn into a beating.
6/28/2007 9:32am, #10
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
- Dorset UK
"You have to be fanatical about developing your defense. I spend a lot of time going through all the blocks, parries and evasive footwork. Just run through these moves a thousand times and you'll no longer have the incorrect "flight" response of turning away.
Another thing would be to try to re-program your mind's "oh ****, in trouble" response to attached not to getting hit, but to when your defenses go down. So every moment when your you're sparring and you catch yourself turning away, flinching, or letting your guard down you give yourself a little mental reprimand and make note of it in your memory. Then in the next 24 hours after practice try to think through all the times you made mistakes."
Kid S is right too. Spar more - and..with lots of different people. You can learn from people NOT as good as as you - look what they're doing wrong.
Also - ask your coach for some drills to develop your head movement.