The Psychology of Boxers

For centuries, boxing has primarily been viewed as a physical and testosterone filled sport. A sport where physical strength and ruthless egos drive a match and fill seats in an arena. While the brutality of the sport may be what attracts fans, it is the psychology of the sport that truly depicts a great boxer. The mental stamina and toughness of any given boxer can make or break how successful they are on any given day. In the boxing world, this is called, “mind management.”

Mind management consists of four different areas that help a boxer take control of a match and perfect his overall ability to perform: Calmness under pressure, a ruthless sense of focus, mental toughness and lack of self-blame when things go wrong (Harland). In order to be a successful boxer, it is very important to possess all four of these traits. Many boxers underachieve due to built up stress, nervous and anxious feelings and lack of ability to controls their demons. Being able to be calm under pressure may be one of the most important attributes of the mental side of boxing. If a boxer isn’t able to control his or her ability to calm nerves or push aside anxious feeling before a big match, it may affect their ability to keep a clear head and physically perform to the best of his or her ability. Being able to obtain a ruthless sense of focus is the power to counteract negative thoughts and feelings. Opposing boxers will constantly try to intimidate their opponents by getting into their heads and taking their minds off of the match. Mental toughness plays a big role before and after a match. If a boxer loses a big match and isn’t able to overcome the feeling of failure or defeat, it could lead to a downward spiral in future matches to come. This is where lack of self-blame comes in. As a boxer, it is inevitable that one will at some point in their career lose a big match. Those who are able to rise above and work harder will be the much better off than those who take the loss personally.

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Being able to be disciplined enough with their diet, physical training, sleeping habits and mental toughness, along with their failure and successes, separates the good boxers form the great. No matter how skillful or fit a boxer might be physically, this will count for nothing if the boxer is not prepared mentally.

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by Darien Vercillo