As a Nak Muay, sparring is one of the most beneficial training tools in your arsenal. However, it can be tough and it takes real skill to be a good sparring partner.
Yes, it takes skill to be good at practice.
This is because of the mental gymnastics you must balance in sparring. You shouldn’t go at full fight speed or strength. However, you should keep the energy and the intensity high in order for it to be realistic and helpful to your partner. In the heat of the moment, it’s very difficult to remember that it’s practice and not a competitive fight. [Related: How To Improve Your Timing In Muay Thai]
Some people cannot make this mental shift, making practice especially tough. If you experience a hard sparring session, whether it be physically or mentally, here are a few tips for the best recovery:
#1 Take notes immediately after you get out of the ring. It’s one thing to review footage of your sparring later, but odds are that you are not going to remember exactly how you felt in that moment. I know that I personally have a hard time remembering my fights even just a day afterward. It’s best to write down exactly what you feel and remember you want to improve on immediately so that you don’t forget.
#2 Take a few days off. Seriously. Emotions can run high after a tough sparring match. It may be helpful to separate yourself and then come back to training. This way, you return with a clear mind and a more objective perspective.
#3 Take care of yourself. Rehydrate and replenish your body after every sparring session, and especially if it was particularly tough. Ice any injuries and, if your body is up to it, lightly stretch to make sure that your muscles don’t stiffen up. This will make getting up the next morning a lot better as well.
Sparring is incredibly useful in Muay Thai and you should take advantage of any opportunities to spar with people that are available to you. Just remember: make sure that it’s productive practice. Are you looking for a good Muay Thai gym in Northern Virginia with regular sparring exhibitions? Stop by for our 14-Day FREE trial.