Are there bad habits and poor techniques affecting your performance?
Do you ever find it very hard to get rid of them?
Well, even experienced fighting athletes can struggle with this, as their performance is so ingrained.
These habits are so hard to break because they become automatic.
This happens because your brain tries to protect what it already knows, even if it's not the best way to do things.
Plus, automatic responses are reinforced over and over by practising, which creates “neuro highways” in the path from the mind and that movement.
To fix this, it's important that the fighter is motivated and understands the training objectives.
The first phase involves analyzing the athlete's performance to identify any undesirable habits and determine what they should be doing instead.
Furthermore, sometimes the technical error is stemming from physical limitations or faulty mental models.
If this is the case specific training has to be done to fix that. All this process may involve experts such as sports physiotherapists, strength coaches or even mental coaches.
In the next phase, the athlete needs to become more aware of his (poor) existing technique and then be instructed on the desired one.
This is done by practising both techniques (the poor and the good ones), one after the other, until the athlete can tell the difference between them. This makes it easier for them to learn the new technique and get rid of the old one.
Drills, where the intensity is reduced, could be a good starting point.
For example, the movements may be slower, lighter, or with a collaborative partner in this stage.
The next phase is progressively increasing the ratio of the number of desired techniques with respect to the poor ones, until the poor technique vanishes.
E.g., by doing cycles of 3 good techniques and 1 poor, then 6 good techniques and 1 poor, etc.
When the good technique is fixed, it’s time to train it, increasing the intensity progressively until it’s well performed even under stress.
The new technique is now fixed and... ready to smash it!