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In this archive article from 2016, Sport psychologist Rory Mack discusses the importance of preparation for boxing performance.


You’ll have heard the importance of preparation a million times, whether it is a school exam, job interview or fight night. You’re probably sick of hearing it. But, there’s a reason you keep hearing it – it is absolutely true. Preparation is paramount for success in any form.

In this article, we will discuss – 

The Importance of Preparation

Control the Controllable’s

Be The Technician

Boxing Preparation

You may be thinking; “Yeah but, once I was successful although I did no preparation, I just winged it”.

Sure, we all have examples of this. But after countless hours in the gym improving technical skills through sparring and padwork, watching film to work out tactics, in the weight room pushing your body to the limits of strength and endurance, and seemingly endless dieting to make weight, do you really want to rely on ‘winging it’ for success in your next fight?

Prepare To Be A Champion

So how do the best athletes prepare? When we begin working with an athlete, the first task I usually do with them is called ‘control the controllables’, because almost anything we do together from that point on will be based on something from this task.

This involves separating all the factors which can affect performance into ‘controllables’ and ‘uncontrollables‘, i.e. those which we can take control of, and those which we cannot.

Controlling the ‘controllables’ enables us to focus on the aspects of Boxing we can improve ourselves, this makes the concept relevant to preparation and optimising performance.

A lot of athletes and coaches in a range of sports sometimes have a tendency to focus on the uncontrollables and allow these to impact on performance, and this would be a mistake (the clue is in the title).

Our uncontrollables all have one thing in common – while we cannot control them directly, we can control our response to them.

A good example of this would be when David Haye fought the Russian ‘Giant’ Nikolai Valuev. Valuev stood at a staggering 7″ weighing 320 pounds, 7 inches taller and over 100 pounds heavier than Haye. This was a massive uncontrollable factor for Haye, however with the right training (controllable) and game plan (response to uncontrollable), David beat ‘Goliath’ to become heavyweight champion of the world.

Taking care of our controllable’s is about preparing to succeed, putting ourselves in the best possible position to get the result we want. The better quantity of controllable’s and uncontrollable’s and the ability to handle them is, better preparation and subsequent level of success can be achieved.