by Don Heatrick

I’m hearing more often from fighters that are doing their best to systematically improve their athletic ability…

But are finding that well-meaning trainers are sabotaging them with regular “beastings” that set them back.

A knowledge gap is beginning to grow between the students and trainers/coaches.

Information is increasingly available online, and students are actively researching ways of optimising their fight performance.

They’re investing time in learning more about this part of the training puzzle that many coaches still aren’t.

This creates a knowledge gap that many coaches aren’t even aware of…

Because there’s a curse to being a great technical and tactical Muay Thai coach.

It’s easy to assume that a high-level knowledge in one area automatically means you have an equally high-level of knowledge in all related areas too.

This simply isn’t true.

When you don’t know enough, you don’t know you don’t know enough!

The truth is…

Unless you’re actively putting effort into researching the advances in each related area, you continue to fall behind as things evolve and become more efficient and effective.

I’m continually humbled (and excited) when I discover more that can help me improve performance.

There are two kinds of Muay Thai trainers or coaches…

Those that seek to continually learn so that they can improve their art and better serve their students, and those that feel they know enough to be ahead of their current students.

These different attitudes are founded out of two different mindsets, either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.

Reverse engineer a bit further and you’ll reveal underlying belief systems, that either ability is malleable and depends on how you spend your time, or ability is limited and can’t be affected to a significant extent.

Evidence shows that what you believe is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, is only true if you choose to believe it.

I’m encouraged that I’m working not only with fighters, but also many coaches too…

Ultimately, coaches impact the rate that training principles are adopted by the Muay Thai community to a greater extent than the fighters from the bottom up.

And it’s my purpose to make a difference.

I hope that more coaches can see that they have an opportunity to take their fighters to the next level if they either:

  • Choose to learn how to better structure physical training to optimise fight performance themselves, or
  • Refer out to those that can do this for them.

For example, I’m a trained Muay Thai and a strength and conditioning coach. I know my lane(s).

And if I have an injured client that needs expert manual therapy or treatment, I refer out to competent massage therapists, chiropractors, or physios – whatever is relevant.

I respect the value these specialists contribute to my clients, and I don’t have the time or motivation to dive deep enough into these areas to be effective in critical instances.

My recommendation for coaches or fighters looking to produce the best Muay Thai performance would be… 

Find good quality, reliable information. Stick to no more than a few different sources – or risk confusion and contradiction.

Clarity gets results. Gathering information is one thing, applying it another, and action is key.

If you don’t gain sufficient clarity to create an action plan, at least you’re learned enough to realise that you don’t know enough!

You now have an understanding of how the “Muay Thai performance picture” should look.

Find a competent either local or online specialist to help you fill the gaps.

You’ll get results quickly, and with worked examples, also learn how to do it better in the future yourself too.

If you’re looking for some starting points, I’ve distilled key information into multiple guides on my website at…

They’re there to help you not only keep up, but get ahead of the game. Feel free to dive in!

Further Resources

Don Heatrick

Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

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