As a Martial Artist a great psychological concept I have learned through out my years of practice is to treat Martial Arts training as if it were the real deal (practice like you will perform) so that it is basically a simulation and not just in a controlled environment where the practitioners have a certain way of reacting.
When the Martial Artist is in a confrontation or tournament setting, the mind and body should have the feeling of “been there, done that”. It is best to practice as if it were an actual real life tournament or confrontation as close as you can, so that you can get the nerves firing and so if the practitioner did get into a real life situation it would feel like practice.
The body cannot perform as well either when the heart rate is at resting, the nervousness is what is going to sharpen your senses, make you faster, quicker to react etc
If you end up in a real situation without experiencing what a real situation might feel like, your mind might think something is wrong with your body with all the nerves firing and you would freak out. But with real life simulation training you will realise that’s how you would want to feel and you will flow with that feeling because that’s the feeling of your body getting ready to perform.
Practice like you compete and compete like you practice so that when you get into a tournament setting you can just be yourself, as so many people try and be better than them selves in a tournament setting.
Another great way to improve psychological performance is to spar different styles, working on new techniques or something you thought you could never achieve and filming yourself and seeing flaws and fixing them and it’s also great to perform in front of a crowd so you get used to it, which helps with performance anxiety.
One of the keys of a champion is to let things roll over your shoulders, under-react emotionally and react intelligently.
Another important aspect is VISUALISATION
Visualisation/self imagery is very beneficial and can help achieve superior results in performance. By closing your eyes and trying to see and feel yourself in first person rather than third person and in different scenarios and environments helps the body become familiar with what could happen. Even by expecting the best you’ll be prepared for anything. Visualising yourself succeed can greatly enhance the way you perform in reality. You can actually train and prepare the brain for what it must do.
In the book The Possible Human it states
“Numerous studies have confirmed the fact that vividly experienced imagery, imagery that is both seen and felt, can substantially affect brain waves, blood flow, heart rate, skin temperature, gastric secretion and immune response…in fact the total physiology.”