ONE moment with Rich Franklin: Managing Stress (Part 1): It's about control

Preparing for a fight is a stressful experience to say the least. Throughout fight camp, it is easy to begin the "what if" process. 

What if my opponent is stronger than I am? What if I get sick the week of the fight? What if I don't perform well on fight night? What if? What if? What if? 

The panic sets in and I am derailed from performing to a standard of excellence. When this thought process becomes chronic, performing below that standard becomes routine, essentially guaranteeing the thing I feared the most... defeat! 

Preparing for a fight is a stressful experience to say the least. (Photo: Rich Franklin)Preparing for a fight is a stressful experience to say the least. (Photo: Rich Franklin)

Managing stress is a simple two-step process. 

First, identify what is in your circle of control. 

Too often, people spend mental energy worrying about the things they are not able to control. I am not able to control my opponent's strength, and no amount of worry will change that. 

Rather than focusing on my opponent's strength, I focus on my strength or drills I need to do to minimize that engagement and maximize my chances of victory. 

While I may normally bank on being stronger than my opponent, in the event I may not be, if it truly is a concern, I need to develop a contingency game plan. I need to have complete faith in the new plan, or I will grasp onto the hope that I am stronger than my opponent... only leading to further doubt and stress. 

While the tendency may be to drift back into the things I cannot control, it is imperative to release those thoughts. They will only act as mental anchors paralyzing any progress in a productive direction. 

I can control my strength. I can control my game plan. I can control how I execute my drills in practice each day leading up to the fight, which will directly affect my performance on fight night. 

Although I may not be able to completely control whether or not I get sick, I do have some level of control. While I can't stop the person standing next to me at the coffee shop from sneezing on me, I can control my exposure to sick people, the amount of sleep I get, the foods I eat to minimize my chances of sickness and even the public places I go. 

Remember, the outcome ultimately rests on your shoulders and the things you can control. Planning will help you minimize the things you are not able to control. 

Look out for Part 2 of how to manage stress in Franklin's next column! 

For more inspiration from Rich Franklin, follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@RichFranklin).

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