Boxers and Peak Performance

Are You Beating Yourself in the Ring?

So what kind of a head do you have on your shoulders? Are you fighting and competing at the level that you’re capable of? Or do you regularly perform better in practice bouts than at tournaments or bigger fights? Are there particular opponents who you consistently lose to who have no business beating you? Do fears and self-doubts paralyze you and prevent you from fighting to your potential. Are you the kind of athlete who regularly steals defeat from the closing jaws of victory?   

If some of these questions bother you, then you probably already know how critically important the mental part of your sport is. If you want to take your performance to the next level, then you have to be willing to take your training far beyond where most boxers stop. Most serious athletes in this sport religiously work on the physical part of the sport. They’ll work on their strength, fitness and quickness. They’ll work on their punches and combinations. Is this stuff important? You betcha! You can’t become successful without “paying your physical dues” in this way. Hard work is definitely one of the main keys to your success in the ring. Without it, you’ll quickly lose. 

Unfortunately, this is where most good boxers stop. When they go into their matches, they hope they’ll perform well, they hope that they’ll have their “A” game with them today, they hope that they’ll win. You would never leave your conditioning or fighting technique to chance. i.e. “I hope I’m in good shape today.” So why would you leave the most important part of your fighting, the mental side to chance?

Think about this: Getting good as a boxer in practice is 95% physical and 5% mental. Translation: You have to work hard on your conditioning and “physical game” to make it happen. However, once you step into that ring for a bout, the percentages flip flop. Being successful is 95% mental and 5% physical. You have the conditioning, technique and fight strategy, now you have to make sure that you stay calm under pressure and keep yourself focused on the right things. For example, your concentration needs to stay in the moment, on executing this punch and this punch only. If you let your mind jump ahead to the future, (i.e. thinking about winning or losing) or slip back to the past (i.e. a previous mistake or bout), then you’ll end up getting yourself too uptight and distracted to perform to your potential. This means that you have to be able to rebound quickly from your mistakes and not carry them into the next round or bout.   

You have to believe in yourself and have the self-confidence to fight your own fight, rather than your opponent’s when you’re under pressure. You have to be able to handle last minute negativity and self-doubts. You have to be able to master your fears.

With a little work, these mental skills as well as a few important others can be systematically trained to the point where you develop the reputation as a mentally tough fighter. My CD program, The Best Mental Toughness Training Program for Boxers (ON SALE NOW!) will take you to the next level!

Are you struggling with performance anxiety or a slump? Do you consistently perform better in practice than when it counts?

My one-on-one consulation service will help get you back on track!

Call me at 413-549-1085 or email

Dr. Alan Goldberg is an internationally recognized expert in the field of performance enhancement. He holds a black belt in traditional Okinawan Karate, Shorin Ryu style. As a Sports Performance Consultant Dr. G works with boxers, wrestlers, martial artists and other athletes across all sports helping them develop mental toughness, better handle competitive pressure and perform to their potential. As a regular columnist for a number of national and international publications, Dr. G writes on the subjects of peak performance training and mental toughness. Check out his most popular program- Mental Toughness Training Package for Boxers-Special Savings.