MMA Training Top Tip #4 – Setting Goals

MMA Training Tip #4 – Why failing to set goals is setting yourself up for failure


So over the past few days, we’ve been talking about technique, self-assessments, and goal setting in MMA. Today we’re going to build on that, bridge the gap, and draw up a more specific map to connect point A (your current state) to point B (your goals). Now this is a concept that I use in a number of different settings and not just in training. Today we’re going to talk about setting deadlines and benchmarks. Again, this seems like a simple concept, but any project manager will tell you that these are vital for any project’s success. You are a project. You have a starting point, a team, a need, and a goal. If your goal is to be ready for a fight in 6 months, you need to make sure you are in prime condition, your technique is crisp, and your strategy is perfect. You have a deadline now. With any deadline, you need a schedule to meet it.

What happens if you miss a deadline in MMA? Bad things. You don’t make weight, don’t get to fight, and embarrass yourself publicly at weigh-in; you need to withdraw from the fight because you’re not ready physically; or even worse, you get knocked the f*** out because your technique isn’t where it should be.

Either way, if you miss your deadline, your team suffers, your coach gets pissed, and your promoter might not take you seriously in the future. In the UFC, if a fighter doesn’t make weight, they’re fired. If a fighter slacks on their conditioning and doesn’t perform well, they’re fired. If you get injured, you’ve just fired yourself… and injuries just hurt like hell.

The bottom line is the best fighters get the best results because they stay on schedule, and go into their fights 100% ready to win. So how do you set a schedule to progress in MMA training? The key is periodized workouts. This means that you set a specific timeframe where you develop a particular skillset. For the MMA Conditioning program I follow, the stages are corrective and stability, base strength, endurance, and explosive power. Each stage builds on the previous one to set you up for success, and get your strength and cardio to a fight-ready state in 16 weeks.

If you’re going for your black belt in BJJ, as I mentioned in the last post on goal setting, you have bench marks along the way. Each belt is a benchmark. You don’t just GET a black belt. It’s something that you build into. You have steps along the way, and periodic progress checks. You have a specific set of criteria that you need to master before progressing on to the next level. Now let me ask you, who is more likely to succeed between fighter A and figher B?

Fighter A: “I want to get my blue belt in BJJ in the next 6 months.”

Fighter B: “I want to get my blue belt in BJJ someday.”

This is an example of a benchmark. Fighter A is much more likely to achieve his blue belt in less time than fighter B because he set a challenging benchmark, which feeds into his larger goal of attaining his black belt. Those who set deadlines are more likely to achieve their goals. Deadlines keep you focused on your goals. It’s a huge motivating factor that shows that you are making progress on that ultimate goal. Black Belt is daunting and intimidating, but Blue Belt is relatively easy. It gives you something to strive for, while knowing that each step you take forward brings you closer to that objective (Blue Belt), and each objective brings you closer to the end goal (Black Belt).

So in short, take a look at the goal you set yesterday, and try to break it up into smaller, more manageable, measurable goals, and put yourself on a deadline to reach those goals. You’ll be glad you did when you reach the first one. When you have these pieces in place, it’s time to get on a specific periodized program with set criteria to meet those goals.

Let\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s hear your thoughts!