How to Be Mentally Tough in Boxing


Road work, jumping rope and hitting the heavy bag can prepare you for competition between the ropes, but unless you develop your mental toughness, you're not giving yourself the best chance to succeed. Mastering the physical fundamentals in boxing, as in all sports, is only part of the equation. A boxer who has exemplary mental toughness can often succeed over an opponent, even if he has greater physical attributes.

  • Train frequently. A boxer who lacks confidence often does so because he's skipped a training session or hasn't taken training seriously. It's difficult to be mentally tough and believe in yourself when you know that you haven't done all you could to prepare yourself for competition. But by continuously making the most of each training session, whether it's a long, solitary run or a feverish focus pad workout, you'll improve your confidence.

  • Repeat positive messages to yourself, either aloud or in your head, to affirm a tough, confident attitude. Believing in yourself is a pillar of mental toughness and adopting a confident approach to your training sessions can help. Floyd Mayweather, Jr., is known for chanting the words "dedication" and "hard work" as he trains. Pick one or more phrases that resonate with you, such as "I've got this" or "I can do it."

  • Avoid making excuses, regardless of the reason. A mentally tough athlete prepares for competition and learns from failure. Never enter a bout -- or leave the ring after a defeat -- with excuses in your mind. You might be tired, sick or have a sore body part, but ignore these situations and remain positive. In doing so, you're boosting your mental toughness.

  • Practice discipline in your training routines to strengthen your resolve and dedication. It's easy to press the "Snooze" button on your alarm instead of pound the pavement on a 5 a.m. run, but a commitment to discipline helps strengthen your mental resolve. Skipping a workout because you're tired or want to do something more entertaining sends yourself a subtle message that you're not mentally tough.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work with a trainer and fellow boxers who can help improve your mental toughness. Although your trainer's job isn't to be your best friend, a talented trainer knows when a fighter can use a word of encouragement. Surrounding yourself with experienced fighters can help you learn how they've overcome adversity and remained mentally strong.
  • Avoid being mentally tough to the point of arrogance. Arrogant boxers can alienate their training partners and even their trainer.

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