A good reason why professional athletes participate in MMA training is to further develop their mental toughness. MMA athletes are known for their mental toughness and heart. This is the reward of their rigorous training program.
Better Conditioning, Balance and Flexibility
A good strength and conditioning program plays a significant role in training every successful athlete. MMA training, particularly mitt work, heavy bag work, and wrestling are tremendous at improving conditioning. Depending on a player’s individual needs and position, the conditioning can be easily made aerobic, anaerobic, or some combination of the two.
Increased Body Awareness
Learning to engage the entire body for maximum power, efficiency, and explosiveness is immensely important. Striking focus mitts or a heavy bag requires the same kind of exact coordination. Teaching a player to involve his entire body in a strike often translates to the field, where players must hit and generate power from awkward angles. A player who hits with his entire body, instead of isolating individual body parts, has a distinct advantage in power, efficiency, and long-term sustainability. Striking drills teach players to coordinate their legs, hips and core, as well as their upper bodies—ultimately making them more powerful and versatile on the field.
Body Positioning and Angles
Through footwork, hand fighting, and tactile sensitivity learned in punching and wrestling drills, players learn the importance of body positioning and angles.
This is where wrestling takes over in the program. For the purposes of MMA, Hockey, Rugby and Football, there are two energies: the opponent can push or pull; there is nothing else. The more time you spend working with real resistance and pressure (wrestling), the more prepared you are to feel that energy in real time. The energy must be felt. If it is “seen,” it is too late, because it has already reached completion (or close enough). If it is “felt,” the player still has time to respond and gain an advantage. The number of rounds, times, and levels of intensity can be adjusted based on the needs of the session/client. Training in combat sports can provide a welcome and necessary change of pace for serious athletes. By conditioning athletes in a unique environment as well as training them on body positioning and coordination, combat training can break up a traditional routine and further prepare athletes for success.