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About Sean Ryder
Mental Performance Coach and founder of Deliver Your Ability. Specialist in Professional Football and Professional Boxing.
Has George Groves made Carl Froch angry with his “disrespect”?
It’s obvious that George Groves has decided to opt for a specific style in his meetings with Carl Froch prior to their fight on November 23rd. While remaining calm and repeating what he believes as facts, he’s looking to reinforce his own belief of victory. In addition, he’s really looking to get under Carl’s skin to rile him up.
Anger is disastrous for a boxer. It can lead to being overpsyched causing confusion, not being able to focus on the game plan, technique goes out of the window and early exhaustion kicks in – all in all, shocking for performance, you’re likely to get hurt and say hello to an “L” on your record.
It works the other way too – not hyped enough and you can feel lethargic, unmotivated and not “up for it” – get into this state and chances are that “L” is coming home with you.
But what is the correct level of intensity for a boxer in those vital moments in the changing room, during the ringwalk, as the MC makes the introductions, from round to round and the breaks in-between?
Well, there are two things to consider:
1) Your ideal intensity level will need to change with the circumstances – high intensity two hours before your bout will just sap mental and physical energy, whereas low intensity as the bell goes and you’re going to be relying on good luck!
2) Your ideal intensity level will be different from other boxers – those who have been lucky enough to witness the inside of changing rooms as boxers prepare will recognise a range from the cool, self-control of an Anthony Joshua to some of the more ”excitable” fighters.
Once you realise these two things, you then have two more steps:
3) Understanding what the perfect level of intensity is FOR YOU in each circumstance.
4) Learning a wide range of techniques to help you manage your intensity to suit YOU & YOUR CIRCUMSTANCE.
Understanding your perfect intensity level involves understanding how you need to feel to give yourself the best possible chance to execute your game plan with a mixture of technical skill, physical prowess and mental fortitude.
To work this out you can speak to people who you trust, have knowledge and have experience, such as your coach, fellow boxers, and dare I say it, a mental performance coach. Be brave and reflect on your own previous experiences honestly to help you come to a judgement too.
Once you have a good understanding of the intensity level you want to be at, the next stage is to practice how you can control yourself to get to those levels.
In short, enjoy the challenge of understanding what can raise you up to your optimum level and if you’re at risk of going over the edge of the cliff, what can bring you back.
There are so many methods for this (and I’m sure you use at least some of them to a greater or lesser degree now) – Some psyching up techniques include:
– Managing your breathing – Deeper, Strong and Quicker
– Use your voice – Motivating words, growls or shouts (out loud or inside your head)
– Movement – High energy / Fast footwork / Sharp combinations
– Music – Have a playlist ready to increase your intensity
– Listen – To inspirational people like your coaching team and feed off them
– Watch – Prepare videos that energise you
– Mentally Rehearse – A high intensity, but controlled performance that you’re about to go and deliver
Alternatively, similar techniques can be used when you need to calm yourself down (but in a slightly different way):
– Managing your breathing – Slower and more controlled
– Interpret you situation positively – “Nerves are a positive thing, my body is getting ready for battle”
– Use your voice – Calm, controlled, measured (out loud or inside your head)
– Movement – Focus on smooth control your feet, your movement, your combinations
– Music – Have a playlist ready to reduce your intensity
– Smile – Laughing and joking with your team
– Mentally rehearse – A controlled, but high intensity performance that you’re about to go and deliver
– Mentally rehearse – Relaxing images
– Yoga, Pilates, Meditation – Each involve self-control
– Active relaxation Techniques – e.g. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Why not pick one psyching up and one psyching down technique and spend the next week trying them out in training. If they don’t work first time, keep going for a week – remember, you didn’t nail a jab-cross-hook combination straight away.
Pick some others for the following week. You’ll find some click and work for you, and some not so much – but don’t worry, that’s normal!
In time, you’ll have created a toolbox of skills that can manage your intensity levels, whatever the circumstances to help you display all of that hard work in the gym.
If you’d like more details on developing the techniques in order to get the most out of them in the quickest time, give me a shout on 07970 154929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, going back to Froch v Groves, personally I think Groves’ approach will help his own belief and he won’t be overawed by the occasion. The downside is that I think Froch has developed his self-control so Groves’ actions are unlikely to have a negative effect on Carl, in fact they may well work against him as any complacency (which was always unlikely with Froch) will be well and truly removed.