How Technology is Improving the Sport
When comparing the technology, planning and training scheduling used in sports such as Football or Soccer vs. what it is used in the MMA world, it is very easy to spot opportunities for growth and improvement.
How much is enough?
When you ask athletes in combat sports ranging from BJJ Legends to Pro MMA Fighters about their training routines, schedules, recovery, and diet, they all have very diverse and sometimes vague answers.
A lot of them work a full-time job to pay for their Pro careers, money is commonly a big impediment and poorly managed sponsorship programs are a recurrent temporary solution.
While attending many seminars and talking to multiple athletes from amateur to Pro, they all have the similar answers to the question what does it take to get to this level?
[…] I train as much as I can, as hard as I can, I rehab when I get injured and I have a diet but little knowledge about nutrition.
It is commonly assumed that “hard as you can, as long as you can” is the way to improve fast. some common sayings in the sports:
“Someone else is working as hard or harder than you for this” or “The time that counts is the time on the mat” are commonly heard.
Although Recovery is as important as instruction, or implementation, this aspect of the sport is often left aside or relevant only after injuries occur.
When talking to some athletes, they often mention that their schedules and training sessions are cut by approximately half as they progress in the sport due to injuries, illness and recovery times.
Early age retirement is common for this sport, some of this issues could be fixed by looking at some other sports for schedule prioritizing inspiration, learning, and inspiring nutrition education as well as the right workouts and session lengths.
Fighting for a Longer Career
According to MMA Analytics, the average length of a UFC, WEC or Strikeforce fighter’s career from their first documented bout in any of these promotions to their last is 533 days. They typically fight in 3.3 bouts.
Anywhere from less than a year to the very rare 11 years, the average career length is one of the shortest in sports.
According to infogram.com some of the averages are:
- NFL: 3.5 years
- NBA 4.8 years
- NHL 5.5 years
- UFC: 1.5 years
Professional Football more than doubles the average career length of an MMA fighter according to these sources.
If something starts to make sense is that these numbers are not a coincidence.
The amount of money involved, regulation, and requirements in each sport, as well as the technological development of each discipline, has a lot to do with career lengths and athlete’s safety.
How can Technology Help MMA?
All sports draw the attention of the academic world, no matter what sport it is, we want to know how the magic happens, and we have the technology to do it!
Companies like Hysko are making it easier to track various metrics to improve speed, keep track of a healthy workout intensity, punch velocity, acceleration among other information to help athletes improve and learn about their technique in an affordable fashion.
In the same way, we are slowly realizing and paying more and more attention to conditioning training, mobility, continuous rehabilitation, and strengthening, as vital parts of a regular training session for MMA and BJJ Athletes.
Learning from other Sports
If we look at the sessions of professional athletes in some other sports, we can easily notice that they usually have 1-3 intense sessions a week, being in less quantity for contact sports such as Football, in order to avoid injury.
More time is usually dedicated to technique (or plays) study, about 5-6 sessions a week as well as 3-5 strength and conditioning sessions a week plus a few specific training sessions a week, this usually involves strategy and execution for their specific positions.
Applying this to MMA or BJJ would involve a schedule similar to this (calculated according to Newsday’s NFL’s practice schedules):
- S&C 20%
- Strategy 25%
- Practice limited contact 30%
- Rehab 15%-25%
- Hard Sparring 10%