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Rob Dawson for MindSport

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So you wanna be an MMA fighter?

So, you wanna be an MMA fighter? You follow ‘The Notorious’ on Instagram ✅

You’ve bought a subscription to UFC fightpass ✅

You’ve ordered your RDX shin guards, a pair of 4 oz MMA gloves and a Venom rash guard from eBay and you’re all set to get started on the fun that lies ahead. There is just one final big decision to make…. Where are you going to train?


As an athlete, choosing a coach requires a number of considerations. You ideally want to find someone who has the ability to teach in a style which matches your own learning process, for example, some like very direct and explicit instructions, others require more careful explanation. If a coach is able to make minor adjustments to their delivery to benefit everyone then that is a fantastic start.


Another consideration to be mindful of is that the coach you select buys into your goal and shares your own vision for success, if you have the backing and belief of your leader then this will give you the confidence to flourish.

It is not all a one-way relationship, as an athlete it is important to respect your leader, however, this is a two-way process and if your coach is putting their best effort into you then you have an accountability to repay this with maximum attention, diligence in your approach and respect.

Some believe that coaches and leaders are born, others believe you cannot be a great coach unless you have first been a great athlete, neither is necessarily true. You can be the most well-read and experienced athlete with many accolades and achievements but if you do not know how to apply this knowledge to benefit others then it won’t matter how many medals are in your cabinet because as a coach you are measured not on your personal merits but on the performances of your team.

team performance

Try a few different gyms before making your choice, I would look for a coach who leads with their head and heart, a coach who commands the respect of the class. The true quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves which impacts how they intend their athletes to perform. Look to identify a coach who demonstrates that leadership is practiced only partly in words but more so in attitude and in action.

When a coach displays that running an MMA gym is not about having a title or status, instead it's about impact, encouragement and vision. Impact involves delivering results, encouragement is about inspiring and developing the passion from within throughout the team, and vision is always a necessity in order to have a clear path to performance success. Identify this and you know you have found a good foundation for development and growth.


If the coach maintains momentum around keeping the team fixated, motivated and directed towards performing at the best to achieve a task, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences matter. Then once the foundations for the success of the team are in place you see the coach stand back away from the limelight to allow the team to shine, taking a little more than their share of the blame and a little less than their share of the credit, then you may well have identified your coach.

Now you have made your choice it is time to get your shin guards, 4oz gloves and rash guard packed up and make that walk into your new home where you will train and perform with confidence and absolute belief.

mma walk

Good luck,

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