Tips To Be Less Nervous Before Sparring (Or A Fight)

Oh man, that feeling. Noodle arms, heavy legs, pumping heart, you name it, that’s the nerves kicking in. I’m pretty sure you hate that just like the majority of boxers out there, especially as a beginner.

The good thing is that it can be managed, so read on if you want to tame that beast.

The truth about nervousness

Image by Aberro Creative via Flickr

Long story short you’ll always be nervous before a sparring session or a fight, and the first ones are usually the hardest to go through, it’s just that the more of them you do the more you get used to it.

Notice how i say before a fight Рonce you step down into a ring and begin more often than not nerves diminish.

Experience is definitely a factor in controlling that pesky feeling, but there are still some ways you can actually take control of it, be it you are a beginner or a seasoned fighter.


Breathing works wonders for just about any stressful period in your life, so what can make it ineffective before a fight? Start by breathing slowly and consciously. Take a deep breath, hold it for a moment and then breathe out in a slow manner.

You’d be surprised on just how effective it can be – you’ll start to feel more relaxed, your heart rate will normalize and the feeling will subside.

Before the fight

A great type of exercise to do is visualizing what you’re going to do in a fight or a sparring session. Think about the punches you’re going to throw, the combinations, slips and such.

Doing so let’s your mind get already accustomed to on what’s about to happen, and often times that helps being less tense.

During the fight

Once you step into the ring your main goal is to use the fear in your advantage – do not try to fight the feeling by trying to not think about it, as it’s only going to make it worse.

As a beginner you might notice that you start flinching and acting weirdly when the opponent throws strikes at you, which is commonly normal as a beginner, although be wary and try to remind yourself to not be scared of it.

When you start trading shots, keep focused on the actual fight and stick to the game plan. Again, don’t forget to be breathing consistently,¬† and be relaxed and not tense up too much as it’s going to help you prolong stamina (it will drain a lot quicker than you’d expect).

Additional notes about nervousness

You have probably already realized that you get a lot more nervous when you’re about to fight people you have never fought before – that happens commonly when fighters from different gyms come to spar in your place, or you go out to compete.

If you feel that during sparring you don’t feel as scared, that probably means you should change the sparring partners, which is a good practice either way for getting better.

In case that you really feel that the stress impacts you too much, seek out help from a psychologist or mental coach. Try talking with your own coach and explain how you feel and i can almost guarantee that he will understand what you’re going through which should calm you.

There are numerous other things you can do to calm yourself before a fight or a spar like listening to music, watching videos, reading books, playing video games, really anything that can relax you.

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