Boxing is a sport that takes more than physical ability; it is a mental game. The psychology of boxing takes a toll on the body and mind. In the ring, one of the most important tools a boxer can wield is having a strong mind. Similar to preparing for the ring, mental preparation can make just as much of an impact during a fight.
Mental training is an important part of any athlete's journey and can provide the tools to break through mental and physical barriers. This aids in the ability to bounce back quicker in difficult situations or during setbacks. The mind is an integral part of boxing and training your mental health as well as your physical, can take your boxing to the next level.
Training your mind through visualization, self-talk, dealing with pressure, goal setting, and confidence building are all things that give boxers an advantage in the ring. Boxers that have these skills and training can help their performance and recovery time for the next practice or fight. Both the physical and mental side of boxing can also be beneficial to those suffering from depression. Training or fighting, boxing raises endorphins, also known as "happy hormones", that have a positive effect on the mind. In addition, having a training routine and a group of people to train with can give someone suffering from mental health a sense of belonging and a community of people who will support them in their journey. Boxing psychology gives athletes a great advantage when it comes to boxing and in their everyday lives. This psychology is known as the fight mentality.
Developing this mentality is one that is beneficial in ways of building confidence, resiliency, and having a growth mindset. Resilient fighters have immense motivation and refuse to let negative outcomes or situations hold them back. It is an important skill for a boxer to develop in the face of adversity and to build on it when moving from fight to fight. Getting too caught up in a singular mishap, whether in training or a fight, can have negative effects moving forward in your journey.
Being confident holds a lot of weight in the ring, but don’t let confidence be confused with hubris. It is anyone’s game when you get into the ring and those with tenacity and a belief in themselves can have the upper hand in a fight. However, the outcome of a fight does not determine who a fighter is as a human being. Taking all of your learnings from training and using them in your everyday life can determine what kind of boxer you are. Fighters know their capabilities and as long as confidence doesn’t turn to hubris, these capabilities do not let fear or others keep them from reaching their goals.
Lastly, boxers need to have a growth mindset; arguably one of the most important characteristics. This goes beyond resilience and confidence. Having a growth mindset is about viewing your training and life through the lens of a student. No matter your physical or mental abilities or even how many awards you have, there are always more things to learn. Learning from every experience, good or bad, can make all the difference when another fight comes. Great athletes do not stop at success but strive to reach past that. Athelo Group Athlete and professional boxer, Evan Holyfield, has this growth mindset mentality. In a recent interview, he commented, “As long as you’re working your hardest and you don’t quit, there’s no such thing as losing.” Considering failure as a win is an important aspect of having a growth mindset as lessons learned, like strengths and weaknesses, give a boxer the ability to propel them forward in their career and life.
All in all, the mentality of a boxer goes beyond what happens during a fight and in training. Confidence, resilience, and a growth mindset all play a significant role in the psychology of boxing. It is a mental game and whether a boxer is facing their opponent or living their day-to-day life, mental training and a fight mentality are important to making an athlete successful, but also striving for more.