Lately the learning curve has been steep around the gym. There are a lot of Gym Members and Competitive Boxers discovering new things rapidly. A lot of folks physically, mentally and emotionally pushing their limits!
When you watch your boxers spar, you know and see things that are going on inside them, even if you don’t have the words to describe what you witness.
I was watching one of my competitive boxers who is very skilled and improving daily. He was sparring with another boxer who switched stances. My boxer was dominating with his jab, committing to crossing the gap, relaxing and pulling off some beautifully crazy footwork moves. He came back to the corner and I said, “that was the best round of sparring I have ever seen out of you!” It was true, he had really brought his skill level to a new realm and it was exciting. We’ve been really working on him having better defense and getting hit less and finally his gym work was showing.
The minute his partner turned Southpaw, he didn’t implement a single skill he had demonstrated in the previous round. He was getting tagged by shots he should have easily been able to avoid. He had very little head movement, almost no footwork and a lot of hesitancy. He threw fewer jabs, didn’t commit his body behind his punches when crossing the gap and looked fearful of getting hit. When he came back to the corner this time, I said, “that was not your best round! What happened?” He exclaimed, “Southpaws freak me out!”
He has this notion that he isn’t capable against Southpaws or that he isn’t very good against them……He pretty much set himself up to fail rather than try and implement what he did the previous round. He couldn’t figure out why nothing was working. In his mind he was trying all the same things that he had been doing and they weren’t effective because of the Southpaw stance in front of him.
When you anticipate what you are going to feel, your physical responses are greatly changed.
He had no idea what his body was or wasn’t doing. His body adapted to this identity he created based on some previous experience. He believed this identity more than he believed his ability to learn and implement the things he was just successful at. He believed this identity so much that his body had no choice but to behave in a way that proved he wasn’t any good against Southpaws.
The personality we construct is the real barrier to knowing ourselves
The goal from here is to increase his awareness about the rhythm he locked into. The more he can understand what he does physically when “freaked out” the more he can consciously start choosing different rhythms to practice until he gets the strength, endurance and confidence to continually implement different rhythms.
Think about rhythms you get into when freaked out. What habits do you continually do? What outcomes do you continually have? It’s not easy to change your habits up, but it is possible with a lot of awareness and repetition!
Have fun training and remember to #BoxOn!