Coaches Corner

Coach Kavanagh's Fight Week Tips

During UFC 257 Fight Week, John Kavanagh took over the Wimp2Warrior Instagram. On his takeover, Coach Kavanagh gave us an insight into what Fight Week is like for a professional fighter, and gave our Warriors tips on what they should do during fight week to ensure peak performance inside the cage! Check out his Tips below!

1: Accept your training is done!

What’s up everybody it is Monday of fight week we have arrived at Fight Island; it is on! My tip for our Warriors getting ready for their finale is that on Monday you do something that is easy to say but is difficult to do: accept your training is done! This week, you are not going to improve endurance, you’re not going to learn new techniques, you accept that the cake is baked, the painting is finished, Saturday is the unveiling. This week is about slowing things down, chilling, maybe getting the last few pounds off, but the training is done! Don’t slip into ‘anxiety training’, wanting to do last minute sparring, training, and learning is not how you will achieve peak performance on Saturday night!

2: Practice your game plan!

What’s up, everybody! We are onto day two of quarantine, with not a lot to do except think about the content. Even if you weren’t in quarantine, overthinking about the content is a pretty normal thing to do for all athletes on the week of competition, I want to give you some tips on how to deal with it!

Believe it or not, there is an entire industry dedicated to this area, known as competition sports psychology, you can delve into this if you wish! One thing I would recommend is that you don’t overthink it, get up and do something about it!

One thing I like to do with my fighters is to choose a number of sequences that you plan to use in the contest. For example, get up, pick some stand-up combinations you see yourself using in the fight, stick on a timer for 2/3 minute rounds, pretend as if you’re walking out from your corner, and drill the techniques you plan on using!

You can also use this for ground techniques, whether or not you have a partner! Get on the ground and place a chair on top of yourself, move around the legs of the chair to practice your escapes and transitions! With just a chair, you can practice techniques such as hip escapes, up kicks, and getting back to your feet!

Remember, do not just overthink it, get up, move around, and put your negative thoughts to good use!

3: Making weight is not the End Goal!

Hi everybody, we are just back from the official weigh-ins where Conor made championship weight of one hundred and fifty-five pounds. Before I head off to the ceremonial weigh-ins, Id like to give you some tips on mindset techniques surrounding the weigh-ins. Of course, it is important to ensure you make weight safely and correctly, but one thing I would recommend is to not slip into celebration mode. You are not preparing to make weight, although it is part of the procedure, the fight is what you are preparing for, you celebrate after the contest.

Ensure to rehydrate correctly, and remember that after weigh-ins is not the time to eat celebratory type foods or to switch off mentally. Once you weigh in, tick your mental checklist, put it aside, and focus your mind on the fight. Remind yourself of the contest, and all the training you have done to prepare is for the contest, not for stepping on the scales.

4: Make all your training sessions!

Hi guys! I spoke previously about dealing with anxiety and nerves in the build-up to fight night, but now I’d like to give you the real secret so that you can perform to your absolute best-come fight night.

Here it is: Make all your training sessions!

Its simple to say, but harder to do. When you start the Warrior Training Program, you know you have 100 sessions to get yourself in the best shape possible, as technically sound as possible, so make that commitment to yourself to make every training session!

Use this knowledge that you have the finale coming up to fuel those training sessions because there will be times during the program where you’re energy and motivation will drop. When you’re alarm goes off in the morning and you’re trying to make excuses why you shouldn’t go, remember that you have the finale coming up and let that motivate you!

My confidence comes from my preparation!

The quote above is a common phrase of Conor’s. it’s simple, but that is the secret to achieving peak performance on fight night! Make that commitment and show up to every session!

If you think about the times where you had to give a speech in public or a presentation at work, if you are given a pep talk before the event, it won’t work unless you have done the work to ensure it goes to plan! Don’t let anything get in the way, be focused, be selfish, put distractions aside for the 20 weeks, and really commit yourself to the program!

If you make every training session and give it your all every time, I promise you that your nerves will be considerably less than those of your teammates who missed sessions and gave 50% effort during them!

5: How to Deal with a Loss

I’m going to round off my Instagram takeover by speaking about the W2W finale. At the end of the Warrior Training Program, you have the option to compete in an amateur MMA bout against a fellow warrior.

On the night, one half of the card wins, and the other half of the card loses, that’s the way sport goes. Winning is easy, so I’ll speak about losing. Yesterday, we had a big fight and unfortunately this time we came up short. Here’s the secret to dealing with a loss: You will live with it if you gave it you’re all. In Conor’s case, the last 6 months have been amazing with the discipline and effort he has put in. When you’ve done that, when you’ve really left no stone unturned, you’ve made every training session, you’ve given 100% every day, you made the walk and gave it your all, you will be able to live with it.

Competition has two sides, and sometimes you are going to come up short, you have to get used to it. The quicker you get accustomed with failure, the quicker you’re going to have success.

Do not let the fear of failure paralyse you into not trying!

Losing is okay, the saddest thing is not giving it a try. Today, we’ve woken up, were back on the yacht, and guess what? The sun rose, my family still love me, we all still love Conor, and that’s how it will be for you! Your friends and family will be proud of you regardless of the result, because of the effort you put in.

So many people go through life in an unhappy job, relationship, or situations due to fear of the unknown. As someone who has been part of the losing side many, many times, I can confirm that it’s not that bad!

So we’ll pick ourselves up, fix some technical issues, get back on the horse and go again!