With the Atlanta Open approaching, Gentry’s MMA and Fitness is training hard (as usual) so that we can take home the gold! I’m sure that some of you are feeling a bit anxious about the competition….

Well have I got a treat for you! Recently I had the opportunity to interview coach Phillipe Gentry regarding competition psychology.

Here are some questions I asked Coach Phillipe Gentry regarding competition:

>> How do you deal with pressures the night before a competition?

“I try to stay distracted. As a white and blue belt, I used to think about what I was going to do the next day. I am going to hit this move and this move… it was sort of pointless because it rarely ever happened… Spend time with friends, read a book, watch a movie, push those tournament thoughts out. You should already be prepared and on weight,” said Coach Phillipe Gentry.

>> How do you deal with anxiety the day of the competition?

“A lot of people, I think, are under the false impression that being anxious or having butterflies in your stomach are a bad thing.” He used to think that it was a bad thing, but now he redirects those feelings into something that he can use to stay sharp. “It’s the bodies natural reaction.” There was a time when he competed and didn’t really care and didn’t have any nerves and he said that he performed poorly. “There was no tingle or excitement. It is something that I feel almost empty without.”

>>How do you feel about competing at a new belt level?

”This is my first IBJJF tournament as a black belt, There is always a different level of anticipation when competing for the first time at a new belt,” said coach Phillipe Gentry. He lost his first competition at purple belt and won his first competition at brown belt. “It is always a bit different competing at a new belt for the first time. Especially at black belt since there is no ceiling.  Guys have been black belts for 40 years. I’m not even 40 years old! It is kind of intimidating.”

He is also going against black belts that have been black belts longer than he has been training and that are younger than him.  He said it is all about how you look at it. “These guys are the ones that have to beat me!  I’m the guy that just got my black belt, I’m the guy that has been training for 10 years. These guys are the ones that “have” to win, I’m a brand new black belt and I am at the top of the age bracket.”

>>What do you get out of competition?

Coach Phillipe talked about how there are two types athletes and how they have different mindsets. An athlete whose lifestyle depends on his/her performance (NFL player) has a different mindset than a regular athlete. “For me, I want to do my best. I use competition as a way to get better. I want to be a better jiu jitsu practitioner, a better coach. I want to perform better on and off the mat and I have found that there is no better way to get that than by competing. And there is something that you will see after the match regardless if you win or lose that’s gonna be an area that has room for improvement.” He said that he was not happy with his guard at his last competition and after reviewing footage, he found the problem and started working on it at the gym. “The best mind-frame is to go out there and do your best and look at it as a growth opportunity, win or lose.”

>>He then talks about the difference between the “butterflies” and being fearful.

“There is difference between nerves and butterflies and being fearful. There is nothing to be scared of. You get choked unconscious, you’ll wake up. You break something, it’ll heal. The more common thing is one guy wins and one guy loses. They both get up, shake hands, smile, give each other a hug, and go about their life,” said Coach Phillipe Gentry.

Hamilton Mill MMA- Lutador Competition

Thank you Coach Phillipe for the interview and good luck at the Atlanta Open, everyone! And if you have any questions about BJJ, Muay Thai, or Fitness classes, give us a call at 770-277-8741.

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