Anyone who has ever boxed or even just had a go on the pads will know that boxing is every bit as much of a thinking man’s sport as it is an athlete’s sport.
There is foot placement to think about, punch combinations to memorise and corner instructions to keep in mind, all the while being bombarded by punches as well as other cheeky tricks of the trade.
Although the world of online games is certainly less physically demanding, the mindset training needed is startlingly similar, with many eSports teams even going so far as to employ mindset coaches.
Here are some of the things that boxers of all abilities can learn from gamers when it comes to readying your mind for battle.
Boxing is as much a mental game as it is a physical one
Biding Your Time or Going for Broke
In a long drawn out fight it is always important to know your physical limits and to keep some energy in reserve for the second half of a round or indeed for the deep end of a scrap, as you bide your time and wait for your opponent to wilt.
The exact same rule applies across many games, with players often forced to decide whether to go for the kill or to play it safe. Some of the best examples are to be found in online card games such as blackjack, where deciding to stick can so often be more beneficial than risking going all-in for that elusive knockout twenty-one.
Other games that boxers can take a leaf out of are team shooter games such as Counterstrike or Rainbow Six, where a rush of blood to the head can cost not just you, but all your teammates as well.
Knowing when to stick or twist is key to both boxing and gaming success
Only Strong Mindsets Can Weather Intense Mind Games
Boxers are well known for trying to psyche out their opponents long before a punch has been thrown in anger, with beefs that start out on social media eventually spilling over into press conferences and weigh-ins, usually to the delight of their respective promoters.
However, sometimes a boxer can find him or herself led astray by all the pre-fight hype and chatter, meaning that their tactics go out the window when the first bell rings.
This is a dilemma that gamers have long been hardened to, with overly active chat rooms and chat functions often leading to players being goaded into silly mistakes they would never dream of otherwise making. What gamers usually find, is that if they can’t decompartmentalise the trash-talking from their game plan, then it is usually best to keep a low profile before the action begins.
In other words, let your hands do the talking unless you have a handle on your trash talk like a certain Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan or Steve Collins.
Nothing riles a boxing fan quite like an arrogant fighter who is incapable of backing up their mouth with their fists and the same goes for gamers, especially seeing as in the world of professional eSports there really is nowhere to hide.
Whereas a boxer can take a knee and try to con the referee into disqualifying his opponent, or suffer a timely cut and win on the scorecards, video games offer no-such hiding place, meaning if you were mouthing off before a big match but then find yourself suffering a digital battering, then there really is no place to hide.
The Next Round is the Most Important Round
Being able to put a bad round or level behind you is key to becoming a success in gaming and boxing.
Having the mindset that everything that went before means nothing if you can summon what it takes to win in the next phase of battle is a mental skill that few ever manage to master.
Andy Lee was a past master of this, regularly finding a way to win when well behind on the scorecards. In gaming, there have also been countless famous comeback wins manufactured by those players who never know when to give up.