Pre-fight nerves...Friend or Foe?

How do you cope with nerves? Are you using them to your advantage?

So you have that competition coming up, remember, the one you entered ages ago and said you would increase your training, build muscle and lose fat so you are the most stacked guy/girl in your division... That's the one - the one that's only round the corner!

You know you have trained enough...and you know you are ready...but how do you feel? Confident? Nervous? What makes you feel the way you do? Are you having second thoughts about turning up?


We compete, and yes we get nervous, everyone doubts themselves at some point in their lives, whether they admit it or not. But how do you overcome the demons and take control of your training and perform to your optimum in the comp?

Nerves can be good; they can keep us alert, focussed, they keep adrenaline pumping through our bodies, but sometimes we can let the emotional side take control of us! If the nerves build up and overwhelm you they can hinder your preparation and also your performance on the day. Let’s take the control back! That’s not to say we're no longer going to be nervous...but let's help understand the way we feel so we can use it to our advantage.

In our eyes, being nervous in any situation is the same, whether you are about to make a best man speech or jump in a cage to impose your will on someone else, these nerves come from our emotional state and are your reaction to a situation.

The Situation

Like every emotion, we are reacting to the situation we are being thrown in, and often react in the habitual way we have reacted in the past.

Being in a new situation might make you nervous, being pulled in front of while driving on the road by a driver might make you angry, but all these are, are emotional reactions to the situation.

How can you change this?

But I can't change this you might say, this is just how I am!

At PunchStrong we think differently! Like any emotion you can control it, understand it, and focus it - no one is making you nervous but you. No one is making you angry but you. No one is making you happy but your reaction to something.. You! If the action of someone cutting you up while driving caused the anger, everyone would get angry at the same things, but actually we all act differently; some get angry, some get annoyed, and some probably didn't even realise - therefore in our outlook it can't be the action that makes you feel this way, it has to be the reaction from yourself.

Final thoughts

Going back to the mats or cage, nerves can hinder your perform if they take too much control, but by understanding it is your reaction, not the situation itself, you can change! This should help you see a way to control your reaction. By applying this thought process that you are generating to the emotions, you can gradually, over time and with experience, direct them into positives.

If you can apply this mentality to the world of competitive sports, you can gain the upper hand and take control.

This isn't a five minute job, it will take time and constant self assessment, but to show control over your mental strength can win the fight, before it has even begun.


Alex Johnson

By Alex Johnson

My friends think of me as a mixed martial arts ninja and I don't disagree with them. I live in Essex (UK) with my wife and dog Kingston, who eats more protein than I do.

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