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Every athlete that trains in combat sports will eventually come to the point where they need to test their skills. A good sparring partner can help your progress while choosing the wrong one will hold you back.
When seeking out a sparring partner, it’s important to not let ego get in the way and be very honest with yourself. Here are five of the most important things to look for in a sparring partner.
Sparring is an invaluable step in training as it gives you the chance to experience live combat.
With that said, it can be dangerous if not done correctly. When looking for a sparring partner make sure to pay attention to the sparring partners’ effort.
If they are swinging for the fences with every punch, they may not be the training partner for you. The same is true if they are barely putting on the pressure and aren’t taking it seriously.
Sparring is a good opportunity for you to learn by doing. It’s also meant to give you a taste of the action without the dire consequences that can follow.
A sparring partner that wants to be a gym warrior can potentially help make someone great. They could also hurt someone badly.
When looking for a sparring partner, look for someone that will take it seriously. Someone who will be able to separate the spar session from a real fight.
When sparring, never enter the cage ready to take someones’ head off. Sparring should be about improving technique, not causing harm.
In the sweet science of combat sports, a person must rely on themselves once the cage or ring closes.
A person must elevate themselves in order to be prepared for a fight. The ego plays a large role in how prepared someone feels they are, as well as how well they feel they will do.
A sparring partner with a large ego could be problematic if it’s not checked at the door. When sparring, both people will be exchanging punches, kicks and anything else agreed upon.
As Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.
If someone has a large ego they might snap into a fight or flight mode during sparring. If they get hit and then come back punching with an increased effort they’re not doing it right!
The same could be true for a lack of ego though. Without a belief in oneself, sparring could end up being useless. If a sparring partner is throwing lazy shots and not attempting to move much they will not be helpful.
Too much or too little ego won’t help in learning technique, but it could lead to a possible injury.
3. Sparring Partner
People bond in boxing/MMA/sparring gyms.
Everyone has similar aspirations. It’s important to not get caught up doing one thing. Variety is paramount in a sparring partner.
This means working with different sparring partners. Make new friends and help each other out. Since everyone is looking to make similar strides, a sparring partner that you know could be infinitely more useful than a random person.
Remember to not get too comfortable with friends though. Over time it will be easy to pick up the timing and techniques of your sparring partners.
After some time sparring a person, you will pick up the tendencies of the sparring partner. Learning when to move, and how to attack. Without a variety of partners, the fighter will begin to move and attack exclusively that way.
A variety of sparring partners makes sure that you will always be learning new things, and stop you from becoming easily readable… and therefore beatable.
4. Game Plan
Combat sports have a number of adages, from the ‘sweet science‘ to ‘human chess with dire consequences’. The action of competing against another person using hands, feet and more creates the constant opportunity for injury.
Creating a game plan before every sparring session helps to focus the entire session. Not only does it focus the fighter more. It also helps them to not get caught up in their ego.
The session has a specific purpose and that is what they need to do to be successful.
By creating a game plan for the sparring session, a sparring partner is able to understand what is being worked on and they can help on things that the fighter may even be missing!
This creates a communal work experience. Everyone wants to get better, and since everyone knows what the goal is, they can set themselves up for success!
Learn by doing.
Sparring will not feel natural in the beginning. The pressures of hitting someone or being hit by someone can be stressful. Being able to relax could seem like an insurmountable task, but it’s important to try to learn.
It’s easier to injure the body if tensed. It is also harder to learn and remember things, if in fight or flight mode.
The same is true for a sparring partner. If they can’t relax and are constantly ready for war than it can be difficult to drill the techniques that a fighter had in their game plan.
Sparring can be invaluable, but it can also be dangerous. Don’t get so caught up in the action, that it’s impossible to relax. A good sparring partner will know when to push you, and when to relax.
Combat sports are growing in popularity with fight leagues forming all around the world.
Everyone starts out in a gym. The most important part of learning is doing. Having a good sparring partner or group of people can help make anyone better.
Not everyone makes a good sparring partner. If both people are able to check their ego, relax a little, and focus on the goal of the session much can be accomplished!
If you want to know more about sparring or want to find ways to get involved don’t hesitate to click here! We are ready to make your fighting dreams realities!