The Psychology of Winning: 5 Common traits of success in the ring.

I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfilment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious. – Vince Lombardi

Is there a better feeling than winning? Days, months, years of physical training; countless hours upon hours of visualisation and mental preparation and then you go out and perform exactly how you’d pictured it. Some people will teach their children that winning isn’t everything and it’s the taking part that counts…those parents are losers and are raising loser kids.

Competition is innate to who we are as human beings, simply being born is victory in the greatest competition known to man. Winning is what it’s all about; it’s why they keep score and give out awards at the end. Winning is great but winning in the “right way”, and winning more than once…that’s the holy grail. So what does it take to be a consistent winner, what do the best have in common? and what can we learn to make ourselves better? Here’s 5 common traits of the greatest winners in fight history

Believe in yourself

I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was. – Muhammad Ali

To paraphrase Floyd Mayweather nobody with aspirations to be recognised as great dedicates their whole life to a sport to turn around and say another man (or woman) is better than you. Just doesn’t work that way. This is a common thread that runs through all great fighters, here’s Sugar Ray Leonard giving his 2 cents…

Unmistakeable…The deep competitive spirit that gives birth to an unwavering unshakeable self belief. Before you can actually do anything you first have to believe you can.

If you don’t have it naturally…FAKE IT!

Be Consistent

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. – Bruce Lee

Did you ever notice how Floyd Mayweather Jr fought the same way against every single opponent? How his training sessions were the same for every fight, the pad routines, the roadwork, everything was rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. To the point where he no longer trained for specific opponents, and just focused on getting himself in the best physical shape possible. After dedicating his whole life to boxing and being in a gym pretty much every day since he was 2 years old, there aren’t any styles he has not seen, attributes he hasn’t come up against, problems he hasn’t had the opportunity to solve. Day after day, year after year until it became second nature. No thought, just sub conscious muscle memory. They say it takes 10,000 hours to truly master anything…how many hours do you have under your belt?

Commit to Excellence

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. – Vince Lombardi

It’s great if you have the dedication and discipline to do something over and over again, but what’s the point if you’re doing it badly. All you’ve succeeded in doing is training your body to do something perfectly but incorrectly. Discipline and dedication coupled with attention to detail and a perfectionism that doesn’t accept anything but the very highest standards, this is what separates great champions from good fighters. If it’s excellence and greatness you’re after, from today onwards, put everyone in your life on notice (especially including yourself) that you will only accept the effort and results that match those ambitions.

Will it to have it

Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” – Muhammad Ali

It ain’t about how hard you can hit…you already know the rest. The hallmark of consistent winning, is the ability to adjust to the circumstances put in front of you and still come out on top. You may not be at your best, you may be ill, have to overcome a hostile environment, bad luck, corrupt judges or whatever it may be, winning demands you figure all of that out and rise above it. That takes an iron will and laser sharp focus on what really matters. In those high pressure moments, the difference between winning and losing is 1) having the ability to shut the world out and focus on the details you can control, and 2) the cast iron will to win that says I will NOT lose today!

Master your Ego


Confidence is a necessity but you better keep your ego in check before it ruins you. All fighters tread the fine line of confidence and insecurity and it’s this counterbalance that fuels everything. The belief that you’re unbeatable living side by side with the fear that your opponent is better than you and is training harder than you are. This is normal and healthy. It spurs you on and keeps you training like a beast. When some fighters become successful and receive the fame, fortune and adulation that comes with it they can let their ego get the better of them and lose sight of what got them there in the first place. All of a sudden they believe they know it all, and don’t need to improve. Chris Eubank Jnr hasn’t even won a world title yet and all of a sudden he has decided he doesn’t need a trainer anymore. Utter madness! To the neutral casual fan, Floyd Mayweather Jr was pretty boring inside the ring, but he was absolute box office outside of it. Brash, arrogant, money loving and unapologetic about it too. But he trained every day like he was a broke fighter starting his career. Learn from this. Check your ego at the door and train like there is a broke fighter from around the way who’s coming to take what’s yours…because believe it or not, there is!


There are no doubt many more than 5 common traits of success, and if you can think of any others or disagree with the ones mentioned, leave a comment below and tell us what you think

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