“The Law” of Mental Preparation? Part III

“The Law” of Mental Preparation?

Part III

By: Dr. Steve @SportsShrink with Elite Coach @MattLindland

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. – Muhammad Ali

Mental Preparation Review

  • Learn how to consistently create the ideal performance state
  • Focus on your thoughts, feelings, and bodily responses
  • Organize your mental preparation
  • Recently discussed: Visualization, Concentration & Arousal Regulation

The following excerpts were derived from a research study completed with elite athletes and their mental preparation. The excerpts from Elite Coach Matt Lindland have been selected to exemplify his wisdom in the area of mental preparation.

Elite Coach Matt Lindland’s meaning of mental preparation is as follows:

Mental preparation means readiness. It means I’m prepared with my game plan and now I’m ready to execute it. I have every detail examined and the entire game plan analyzed for each perceivable possible outcome, every change of events good and bad.

You’ve got so many elements that go into a fight and so many ingredients. You’ve got to prepare mentally in addition to physical prep for each one of those things, specifically, and you’ve got to know the outcome before it happens.

Preparation starts in your mind


Detailed below is what Matt Lindland considers important for pre-competition routines and how rituals apply.

When you get to the venue, you’re in a warm up environment. There are a lot of specifics to when relaxation is needed and multiple types of ways of doing it, the rituals.

The important thing is doing things consistently and having a ritual and not really trying to deviate too much from it.

However, you have to be flexible, let’s say before the fight you don’t have the warm up pads. You don’t have a mat, it’s important to be able to make adjustments without be bothered.

The rituals help set up relaxation.

The more comfortable you are in an environment the more relaxed you’re going to be. The more it’s natural, the more it feels normal, but the more relaxed you’re going to be.

For example, one specific ritual I think is when you put the wraps on and when you grab the mouthpiece. Also, what you do first when you warm up, do you stretch first, then you hit the mitts or hit the mitts first and sweat, then stretch. There are all kinds of rituals.

Stretching before a fight is time just to clear your head and only let neutral vibes go through; it is too early to get activated.

Motivational Tools

There are numerous motivational tools used by all athletes. For example, Matt Lindland believes that pep talks in the right context, depending on the individual, may be useful.

I think there are individuals that doubt themselves all the way to the ring and they need you to pump up their ego and build them up. In these cases I pep talk them because I recognize the need for them.

Me personally, I don’t know if I’ve ever needed that, it’s not my thing. I don’t buy into them really, I mean, I do buy into them because it’s like there trying to tell you something that you need anyway.

For me pep talks are like when the Swanson ice-cream man has to come to your house and it’s like, I need some ice cream anyway, what the hell, instead of going to the grocery store, I’ll buy it, sure. Sometimes you get pep talk and you just kind of roll with it even if I don’t need it.

Personally, there is no need to give me a pep talk…

  • I got it and I know what I’m supposed to do
  • I got my game plan
  • Let’s just go over the game plan again


Elite Coach Lindland’s Mental Preparation Training

A lot of mental preparation is done on the drive in to training or the competition and as you’re getting dressed and as you’re stepping on the mat, stretching and warming up.

Then there are certain times that you set aside and you go, Okay, I just got to focus on my mental game plan right now. Then there are times when you’ve got a free moment while maybe you’re waiting in the sauna and you’d rather not be in there, so you just start thinking about positive things that you want to happen in your bout.

A lot of mental preparation is done while prepping physically and of course a lot doesn’t involve any physical.

  • Every physical element has a mental aspect to it.
  • While you’re physically training you’re going to make mental adjustments, refocus, and reset.

Mental Preparation Research

There is evidence that individuals are likely to enhance their performance if their mental preparation becomes systematic. Sport psychologists and coaches implementing psychological skills training programs help individuals and teams by developing effective behavioral protocols or training programs that they can use regularly as a means of performance enhancement and training optimization.

Research has continued to show that significant common psychological preparation elements separate the top professionals from the rest.

Fundamental Mental Preparation includes:

  • Commitment
  • Imagery training & visualization ability
  • Thought process control
  • Concentration ability & Attentional controls
  • Arousal regulation
  • Effective motivational tools
  • Establish & flexible rituals
  • Goal setting mastery
  • Practice planning
  • Competition planning
  • Performance evaluation

Research suggests that beginning athletes should use mental skills training at least three times per week for 15-30 minutes.

Based on extensive research of Clinical and Sport Psychology, working with the general population as well as athletes of all levels, and through the ongoing study elite human beings, the Mental Training Program suggest the following:

Mental preparation is best completed daily as the mind never rests, therefore, why should your preparation.

Mental training can be done everyday, even if only for a minute, because when it comes to the mind…

 One Is Better Then None