- 1 Before the match
Train fighters in martial arts and combat sports gyms.
Do you want to start training fighters in martial arts gyms?.
I think it is very important in today’s gyms and especially the multidisciplinary gyms that there are more coaches.
Chatting with coaches and trainers have come up with interesting speeches and also some differences on the choices taken during the weeks of preparation but there are some common traits that if you want to train you need to know.
A premise, I’m not a coach although I’m sure I’d have a lot to say but it’s an experience I haven’t done yet, but it’s always intrigued me and I respect a lot who does this role, so when I can I like to chat with those who have this difficult task and that’s why I wanted to share with you these chats with friends!! that I’m sure can be useful if you want to do or already do this job.
Consider, however, that the “tricks” of how to prepare the guys have phases let’s say “close door”, but this you have to understand because it is their experience and rightly they do to protect their guys to be the best in the circuits, unveil their method would not be advisable and even if they kindly gave me the opportunity to see I will not tell you here what I saw but it’s a gift that I really enjoyed and respect it.
Preparation requires taking care of different aspects already when it comes to individual disciplines but even more so when it comes to multidisciplinary sports such as MMA , but the same thing can apply in other disciplines, dividing the work of athletic, technical, strategic preparation to more people.
attention!! I don’t want you to think about the money you can earn by being a coach but the sheer passion for sport and your martial art, the pleasure of helping your training buddies do some great performances and win tournaments per match.
The pride of growing your gym in the broadest sense!!
Now there are some useful tips for new combat sports coaches and if you are lucky enough to be able to talk to a coach experienced in a given specialty can surely give you more tips but there are some aspects that you need to take into account and that are common regardless of the specialty.
Training also requires you to acquire new skills!!
Coaching guys and fighters can be really fun and satisfying and it’s an integral part of the fight it’s not just like watching a fight and that’s why it’s an important responsibility and that requires a lot of seriousness and attention.
There are two very difficult things:
- How to do the right training balance without unnecessarily straining the athlete
- Make the technical adjustments that matter to compensate for shortcomings and enhance its characteristics.
- Give the information without overloading your athlete.
Now I don’t want to tell you what kind of workouts you need to do also because it depends on three basic factors:
- What martial art or combat sport it is (workouts are not all the same)
- The physical state of the athlete
- How much time you have available
Consider as the average time standard for a good preparation 12 weeks, but it depends a lot on the physical state of the athlete.
Often there are guys who come to the gym and would like to fight or face specialties while having too big gaps that would expose him to unnecessary risks.
I understand the enthusiasm and desire but every trip should start with the right expectations and realistic goals in mind, it’s not a video game.
Always speak in a clear and honest form with your fighter.
- What’s your fighter’s goals?
- You just want to have a few meetings to try?
- Do you want to win the title?
Remember that his physical and psychological preparation is important, because your fighter must be ready for the battle he faces that he wins or loses but one thing you never have to do not send him into the ring to be slaughtered because he is not ready or is not yet up to face certain types of competitions or matches.
The age of the athletes also affects the path to do, because as you can imagine if you are 35 you can make some matches, but I do not think you can start working to win the national or world title, different if you are 15 years old where you can take the amateur path and with time if you are good you can take away your satisfactions.
Ps. Talents make a path to themselves!! But I like to talk to you about normalcy.
The training has to be consistent with expectations and goals whether it’s an amateur match or a professional competition, of course it’s different to work and train or do it as a job, but if you want to “do well” there is only one rule: you really have to train.
If you want to “win” then ideally you have to beat everyone sparring every single day you work out because you don’t know who your opponent will be in the ring or on the tatami or in the octagon, so ideally your fighter has to win almost every sparring session.
This would be nice and it’s the ideal world but the reality is different and it’s important that you focus more on its growth rather than winning all sparring even if that’s ideal.
What you need to see is constant progress, if something stops there is a problem!!
- What kind of work did you do today? Did he need it?
- What did you learn?
- What is he capable of doing now that he couldn’t do or thought he couldn’t do?
- What other things need to improve that could make a difference?
As I told you at the beginning the preparation for a match has some time rules that can be thus schematized:
- The date of a match cannot be more than 6 months.
- Optimal 3-4 months. It’s probably the best condition. Over 3-4 months too much time passes to keep the excitement and motivation for the match high, but it can also be enough time if it takes to greatly improve an athlete who has neglected physically or is so much that he does not train.
- No good 6 months. It can be too long a time and some fighters lose motivation risking having highs and bases during preparation.
- No good 1-2 months. Planning a fight in just 1 or 2 months can only be done if your fighter is always in top shape, otherwise it is not recommended.
Practice a lot of sparring to be able to make the right adjustments in combat, because the reality is that combat is practical, so you need to do sparring..
ATTENTION!! It does not mean that the athlete must get hurt in training (possibly not even after) so protections and attention !!
Now during sparring there is an important phase that you have to practice as a coach.
During sparring you have to ask the fighter to do different things and make changes on the fly, this habit for your fighters to make small changes on the fly and under the stress of sparring is a team skill between you and him that can make a big difference on match day.
Sometimes, there’s no time to learn a new concept or work on a new skill, but you tell him what you see and the fighter needs to be able to adapt right away.
You need this when you see a defect or a characteristic of the opponent.
Consider that the catches of the champions study all the matches of the opponents but at the amateur level you rarely know your opponent to study it so you need to be able to adapt to certain situations, clearly this does not mean to upset your fighting strategy but to make adjustments that can make a difference.
Training requires one step at a time and constant, requires calm and balance, you have to give your fighter confidence and certainty.
You have to tell him what, when and how to do not only adrenaline-pumping motivation and excitement.
Before the match
The week before the fight
Work on your fighter’s strengths. No more editing and criticism.
Build trust in your fighter.
YOU’RE GREAT!, WIN! Kill him! GO WIN!
Ps. You’ve done everything you can!!.
Remember that perfection does not exist and can create frustration for you and him, he will always have bad habits, defects but he will also have good habits.
Give him confidence to feel incredible and confident.
Few fighters have no problems and it is more likely that their safety that they are doing things well and make themselves so determined that their strengths make up for their mistakes.
Then it’s a sport you can always lose!!
If you have to correct or make adjustments to your fighter in the last week, make small simple adjustments and without ever making it feel like something is wrong, do not make him do too many things otherwise he does not feel ready.
Try to summarize everything in 2 or 3 things or if you can even just one essential thing.
A message for him unequivocal.
Remember that no one in the tension of the battle remembers too many things, it must be a simple message that “lights up”, which only he recognizes.
It is important to talk about his fears and “combat expectations”:
- Tense nerves, tension to the stars (creates tiredness, breath, etc.)
- Difficult opponent (you happened to be a strong and tremendous opponent for his fame)
- Bad luck (bad self-esteem)
- Muscle cramps (from over-training or poor form)
- Don’t sleep the night before
- Uncomfortable mouthguards, helmet or other tool that he must wear and that does not feel comfortable.
- You don’t do something at your best (don’t worry)
Anything that can go wrong in his head must come out, you have to free him from these thoughts.
Your fighter must be ready for any situation.
The important thing is that he wants to get in that ring and win, he has to be happy to be there.
He must know that he is well trained to fight and even if there are those difficulties he is able to manage them, fears exist but must be managed and overcome.
The Day of Combat
The day of the match has arrived! The first thing to do is to control the nervousness of your fighters.
- Some fighters feel nervous when they wake up in the morning.
- Other fighters look 100 fine and then slap their pants at the time they are about to be called out.
- Others even manage to sleep on the bench before the match!
Talk to your fighter!!.
A fighter loses his head a little too much to the tension, distracts him and pull him out of that state by making him repeat the fighting strategy as a mantra.
If a fighter doesn’t seem to be nervous, let him repeat the strategy.
You can’t stop fighters from getting nervous, but you have to help them retrace the game plan you’ve prepared together during hours and hours of training.
Make sure your boyfriend/girlfriend makes a nice match.
Remember that it is always experience whatever his physicality, abilities.
Sometimes it is also useful to experiment to make him take more confidence if you see that there is a lot of potential, some guys do not have awareness of their qualities the other way around some believe themselves too.
Sometimes things may not always be right but at least be prepared to make your case if they don’t give you a winning match or be willing to give up if they give you an opponent that you know is too much right now for your fighter, you don’t need to get him beaten now when maybe in a year can beat him.
Remember that you also need strategy.
Doubtful results and unknown encounters are a particularly problem in unofficial meetings or in small federations, when fighting in someone else’s gym, where refereeing judgments are sometimes a bit partisan.
Once you have your opponent try not to focus on him but on your fighter, try not to make your strategy all about him but to exalt more what are the peculiarities of your fighter because you risk to overly affect your strategy and in the end too much his game.
If you can see some of his movements you can think of some tactics to try but otherwise continue to work on your strategy, but important your fighter does NOT have to look at his opponent.
Why am I telling you this?
Everyone always looks amazing when it hits pads or focus. Your fighter probably doesn’t even know how amazing he is, so he might be terrified if you make him look at the other guy even if maybe he pulls even more, but he doesn’t know.
Most fighters are always nervous and can’t give 50 of what they might give, with experience this goes to excesses for some like sleeping up to a few minutes before the match.
Your strategy must comply with the 80/20 rule:
Pareto’s law says that 80 of the results come from the 20 cases.
So what’s really going to make you win is just 20 of the things you do in sparring.
That’s all you have to do.
Only 20 of your best in sparring and you will win.
Most fighters will rightly try to be at the top expressing all their technical arsenal but this under stress is too much work.
- If he tries to do the 100, he ends up getting only the 20
- If you try to remember 100%, you end up doing only 20%
He has to trust your top 20 instead few things but Top the rest if he has to go out will do it naturally.
Your body is already used to most of these things that you want to remember all but you just have to remember some things, it has to come out spontaneously with an unconscious thought.
Remember do simple things, the more you try to do and the worse you perform because you have to get out not what reminds your mind but what reminds your body.
During the match you do what you do best is that it works, do what comes out natural to you.
Perform your set warm-up routine and stay warm.
Wear clothes that make you “too hot.”
This way I know, you will be sweating but the muscles are ready, if you just stay in the T-shirt you cool down even if you do not feel cold and you are not hot.
Stay warm and keep your muscles warmed, loose and ready to fight.
Remind your fighter of the few essential things you have prepared is everything, do not give him a list of 100 things, but only the essentials.
As for the tension, everyone has his own method to exorcise these moments but enjoy the adrenaline.
During the rounds
MAKE YOURSELF FEEL ALWAYS!! Your voice must come out amid the din of the fans.
If you have to shout out loud to make yourself heard, DO it!!. If you have to speak calmly or in a certain “tone”, I mean bad words, do it.
- Some coaches use a tone of urgency and seriousness.
- Other coaches use a tone of anger.
- Other coaches use a tone of quiet, calm, because they say that the message is lost in all the excitement of the atmosphere.
Some common commands in striking sports (for fighting is something different):
- Keep your guard up
- Combine, not single shots
- Stay away from that right/left shot/etc
- Keep moving
- Get out don’t stay there!!
- Set up your own combinations
- Hit where you see free
- Hit its body part (right/left / etc.)
The minute between rounds
Once again, give him a place of peace and protection.
In that minute he has to redo and realign the focus on his combat strategy by also taking into account what happened and then inserting those small adjustments that can make a difference.
what to do:
- Look him in the eye
- Refresh it with water and ice.
- In front of him perform mirroring techniques by showing him breathing and helping him to slow down to remake.
- Massage his arms if you see tensions
- Treating his wounds (a specialist does)
What to tell him:
- Motivation, which is doing well (never tell him at that stage something demotivating)
- what to do.
The hardest part is when your fighter is losing and not doing anything you’ve trained, or what if he’s scared or unmotivated?
Some coaches think to scream and shake it, other coaches think that calming him down is better.
This choice really depends on you, but I believe that the choice is not unique but depends on the psychology of your athlete that you need to know.
Both solutions can be valid and I do not say this for a correct politician, in fact I do not give a damn.
After the match, self-assessment and celebration.
When the fight is over, it’s time to self-assess the performance and celebrate the successes.
“But are you saying celebrate every time you make a match?”
YES, ABSOLUTELY YES!!
You always have to celebrate the hard work together, celebrate the courage of your athletes and if it wins celebrate the victory after the match and also the first lesson or training in the gym in front of all the guys because it is an important and motivating example.
This attitude also serves when your fighter loses, it is not useful to make someone feel like a loser or punish him by unloading your responsibility as a coach because he did not listen to you.
You just have to reason together to understand what happened, is a fight can happen to lose, it happened even to a Top Fighter like Mc Gregor do you think it can not happen to you??
At the end of a match or a particular workout it is always important to self-assessment all together because it motivates a job that is hard and complicated and also serves to understand if you can go even further by raising the bar.
But be careful not to make the fighter feel inadequate, or mock him, etc. is not useful if he loses confidence in his ability.
Psychologically especially for some, it is not really easy to fight and it is important to motivate every little success that your fighters make.
This is part of building a process of positive growth beyond the victories that eventually come, but the psychophysical state is important in combat.
Now good adventure catch!!
Stay Tuned! Train fighters in martial arts and combat sports gyms!
Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport