The queen of the punches

For Mary Kom to peak at the right time, a flawless and perfectly periodised regime must be executed.

Boxing is considered one of the toughest sports in the world and the queen of the ring is our own Mary Kom.

Boxing is a global sport and to excel in a contact sport of that calibre, one needs topmost skills and fitness to match the best of the best in the world. This includes endurance, speed, agility and power, and also strategic thinking and quicksilver decision-making. One has to be a complete athlete to be a boxer.

We in India always believed and still believe that we cannot match up to the Caucasians or coloured people in contact sports, but the myth has been broken by the boxers and wrestlers who have won laurels for our country in recent years, including Mary Kom, Vijender Singh and Sushil Kumar, as well as many more in the past.

What does it entail for an athlete like Mary Kom to be such a superstar boxer and create a world record? Firstly, her grit, determination and supreme self-belief that she can go where no woman has gone before. Also, her coach and entire support staff have done a great job to make her a world champion, which is by no means a simple task.

Mary is armed with self-belief, but how did she drop her body weight and still deliver a mean punch to decimate the opponents? From the flyweight category (51kg) at the Olympics to the 48kg for the World Championships, to knock off that weight is an incredible task. Above all, she is also a mother with three children, which makes it even more special in designing programme variables.

Mary Kom has to be a case study for Indian boxers in the future, and other contact sports can take a leaf out of it to improvise and improve their sports science outlook.

This requires very professional planning and strategy like a commando operation. There is no room for error in any aspects of her training, from skill set to diet patterns to psychological mapping. To bring down her weight without losing muscle mass and power is a very hard task and certain out-of-the-box thinking must have gone into executing the process.

Her training regime would entail top-class strength and conditioning protocols designed especially for her, taking into consideration her lifestyle habits, food, travel and facilities available at the training centre; injury prevention and cures; and recovery protocols, among other things.

 

Strength training and her aerobic fitness have to match so well that she maintains a certain muscle mass percentage and reduce her fat percentage without compromising on speed, agility and explosive power.

There is loads to learn for strength and conditioning coaches in India on how we can also produce world champions with sheer professional planning and processes in place. There is no magic wand to produce world-class athletes in India. With the professional system in place, we can produce world beaters in contact sports, too, rather than just copying the processes and schedules from other countries and applying on our athletes. We should derive our own training methodologies for our athletes because of so many variables from genetic loading to life is vastly different in developed and other developing countries.

India’s system of training is key for the future. Just like the Russian, Chinese, American, Australian or African methods of sports training and techniques, why can’t we develop one? We have had world beaters in the past in various fields and many more now, and Mary Kom is a fine example.

Now is the ideal time to device an Indian method of training, since we have yoga, which is used by many elite sportspersons all over the world. We have our diet and medicine patterns and lifestyle, too. The only thing we need to do is to marry the Western and Indian concepts of training to produce the best desired results for our athletes.