One of your first achievements in an MMA gym is when you receive permission from your coach to join the sparrings. However while this is one of the most fun activities of your training it can also be quite frustrating if you are just started your journey in the world of MMA sport.
You were learning techniques for a while, but suddenly when striking everything is so fast you hardly see what’s going on, and while grappling nothing really happen the way you drilled it.
What to do? First don’t get upset, no one became world champion for couple of weeks training. Use some of the following tips and sparring will soon become your favorite part of the training:
1. Always spar with full equipment!
Shinguards, bigger or boxing gloves, hand wraps, mouth guard and helmet. If you lack the equipment you shouldn’t be allowed to spar!
2. Spar with a lot of action but with no power behind!
Sparring with full power leads to no progress with beginners! Even opposite: if you receive a heavy blow it sticks to your associative memory and you will spent months just stay turtled in your guard, being afraid of the risk to throw punch and being countered.
Extra TIP: Carefully choose sparring partners either at your level, or from the advanced students who will help you to have fast paced sparring with a lot of techniques involved but no power behind it. This will help you brain to adjust to finding solutions in the fast paced environment of a real fight.
Don’t hesitate to refuse sparring with a partner you are not comfortable with!
3. When taking too much punches in exchange: step back and LOOK!
It is a natural reaction when punches flying to your face to close your eyes and go autopilot. However this only leads to accumulating more punches. Better solution is if you are not able to adapt the pace – step back and allow your mind to access situation. With this simple technique your brain will quickly adapt and you will be able to stop blinking a and closing your eyes for couple of sessions (for more tips to stop blinking while sparring click here)
4. Stick to what you know!
When you spar or grapple often situations will be quite different from the ones you have in your arsenal. Always try to bring the situation to something familiar. For example when you grapple try to get you opponent in your guard and try the moves you know from there.
5. Observe and ask your coach for solution!
Pay attention how you get caught and if you cannot figure out how to avoid it happening again, ask your coach how to deal with this situation, and apply it next time when you find yourself in the same position.
6. Whatever happens in the gym stays in the gym!
Stay humble! Don’t cheer like you won world championship, or talk everywhere if you for example were able to score a takedown to one of the senior students. Always have in mind that he might let you do it to encourage you for choosing a good moment for the technique. If you act badly prepare next time to be given less chances with the same person.
Also don’t expect to be Connor McGregor on couple of trainings! Stick to the basics and follow the advices of you coach. Faster way to progress is to enjoy the process and polish the details.
7. Enjoy the journey!
Having sparring partners better than you makes you better and means you are at the right place. Senior students will always help you by sharing their tips and tricks, at the end of the day we all are one team and share similar goals and dreams.
Thanks for reading and we hope those tips will help your further journey in the MMA sport.