This Karate Blog is from our latest Podcast and is part 4 of 6
Amy Connell is one of Britain’s top fighters. She is a WKF European Bronze Medalist in Kumite, and represented Team GB at the European Games in Minsk. She now has her sights set on Tokyo 2021.
Could you tell us a little bit about how you prepare leading up to competitions? And does that vary depending on the size of the competition or the importance of it?
Yes. So, personally for me, I keep everything quite similar for different competitions. Obviously with the way the schedule has been in the past few years, it’s been a very busy schedule so it has, but for me tapering down before competitions is the main thing what we do in sessions and that depends on what my coach Martin thinks that we need to be working on for that competition in particular.
But you’ve got to do really tough training sessions, in training weeks prior and then you taper down just before the competition so that things get a little bit easier and you are working on sharp, short and sharp exercises a bit more and this is the main thing that we do before competitions and the rest I leave up to Martin and what he thinks you should be working on.
On the day of competition itself what kind of emotions do you experience and is it just excitement, are there nerves?
The nerves, they never go away. I’m going to put my hands up and say you are always nervous when you go to compete, you just have to learn to love it, I definitely get nervous at every competition it doesn’t go away no matter how many times i’ve done them. But I just think that you need to use them in a good way.
So it’s like good nerves and I think it’s like you’re saying excitement as well – nervous excitement. You have got a little bit of both, and so for me it’s just knowing that i’m nervous knowing it is ok, knowing that I am going feel that way anyway and I can use those nerves and put it into good energy, which I can use on the mat in a good way rather than let it affect me in a negative way or making it make you freeze or anything like that. Just knowing that you are going to feel these nerves and it’s just how you put them in a positive spin.
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I know a lot of competitors really struggle particularly as they waiting to go on to compete and I think people probably look at you and competitors at your level and just think, oh man those guys they just do it and they never look worried. It’s important they understand your mindset around that.
Absolutely. I think in terms of that what you are saying for my Bronze Medal match I was standing on the tatami for 3 or 4 minutes just waiting for the timer because it wasn’t working in those moments I had no control over it, I was just standing waiting for somebody else to do something but that’s when nerves kick in even more and that’s when you just need to understand – I can’t control this, it doesn’t matter, like you are going to fight anyway whenever the timer goes it starts. In moments like that I think that’s when you just need to understand that you are not in control of this situation so you need to just let it go and just focus on what you can control at that point.