View Full Version : Best High School Sport to Precede MMA Training? (other than wrestling)

Matt "Gumby" Glach
02-09-2011, 08:51 AM
So my little bro is 15, a freshman in high school, currently his high school sport is crew, but I've talked to him about my love for MMA extensively and he's expressed some interest in training but he's too busy with school to start now and probably won't get a chance until college.

So my question is.. other than wrestling, what high school sport(s) would you say are ideal for preceding a transition into MMA? (in case it matters, he is 6'1 145lbs)

Thanks fellas!

02-09-2011, 09:18 AM
tell him to eat! I think football is good. Gets you used to some hard contact.

Danny Stolfi
02-09-2011, 10:06 AM
I agree with football. I'd also suggest lacrosse, it's fast paced, there's a lot of contact, and his agility and endurance will be pushed.

Not sure if every school has it though. I know it's spread across the country, but I'm pretty sure there's places in the country that don't play it. Especially bc it interferes with baseball season.

Enrique "Kiko"
02-09-2011, 10:10 AM
Good wrestling base is awesome to have. Plus he'll have time on the mat. He'll just have to get over his panic feeling when on his back once transitioning to JJ

Enrique "Kiko"
02-09-2011, 10:12 AM
Other than wrestling, idk, what sports in high school do a lot of flexibility and core strength training. Oh, I wish I did gymnastics in high school. Those dudes had wicked strength.

Matt "Gumby" Glach
02-09-2011, 10:25 AM
See my first inclination was cross country & track because he'd have a superior cardio foundation plus the discipline of following timed/regimented workouts. Crew kind of does the same thing I guess. I heard football develops bad habits for MMA but that could be total bullshit cause I can't think of a reason why that'd be true. The only reason I said other than wrestling is because that's the obvious best but my bro refuses to do it. His crew coaches are idiots when it comes to weight training so I've tried to teach him all I know i terms of diet/strength training, but he is so busy it's hard for him to follow it precisely. (He commutes 30 min to school so he has to wake up at like 6AM and doesn't get home after crew practice until around 730PM, leaving little time for much else beyond homework and sleep.

I guess a more general question rather than what sport would be good for him, a more accurate inquiry would be... for a high school student who is a blank slate and has 4 years of guaranteed sports in front of him but no time to formally train MMA, what should he do to best prepare himself for entering the world of MMA? (obvious answers: stretch, lift, eat properly... but i guess I'm looking for more obscure activities I haven't thought of)

Thanks again guys, it's awesome to have access to a community like this to ask these types of questions.

Enrique "Kiko"
02-09-2011, 10:30 AM
Gymnastics for the badass S&C program you have to go through for things like rings and pommel horse, unreal flexibility and core strength. There really aren't too many high schools I've heard of that have a martial arts curriculum which sucks, but I'm thinking liability would be a factor there. I started up a martial arts club at my community college with a buddy a few years ago and that was fun. Maybe he could start a MA club and get access to the wrestling mats?

Nate Hollyfield
02-09-2011, 10:41 AM
Soccer... I did it, and its a lot of cardio and a lot of technique over strength mental training, you know, you dont HAVE to be super big to shoot like a pro, its all about proper form...
on top of that its running and strength training, and soccer is pretty fucking physical, most people seem to forget that, its all over strength, not just skinny guys with strong legs...
my 2 cents..

VJ Bella
02-09-2011, 10:47 AM
Wrestling would obviously be ideal but ....personally I think basketball is a great sport to play leading into mma or bjj. Basketball players are in great shape (constant sprinting) and need to develop incredible footwork and athleticism in order to be able to dribble through defenders etc. There is also a very physical nature to the game that most who dont play the sport dont realize. Also, being able to dribble and not look at the ball...having to analyze defenses and make quick decisions also plays into the chess game of bjj (hand eye coordination and visual awareness of where all your players are on the court....similiar to recognizing where all your and your opponents body parts are while your attacking or defending). Before me an my kids started bjj we were all ball players....and I think its helped a ton.

Harry Evans
02-09-2011, 11:02 AM
This would be outside of the actual high school, but I skipped school sports to join a rock climbing team in HS. I competed for a few years, and could not have been preparing for fighting better unless I was actually fighting. It is an individual sport, so you learn to focus on your own and to take responsibility (and credit) for your results. It is amazing for your entire body, especially your grip, back, and core. It emphasizes flexibility and balance, and getting your hips close to the wall to maintain position and extend your reach (the distance from your right hip to right fingers is longer than left hip to right fingers, so you put your right hip against the wall to reach up with that hand.) Finally, I learned how to be tough in my training mentality there. Climbing is hard, and you learn what it is like to fill up with lactic acid. When you are pumped and towards the top of a hard climb, it is kinda like being exhausted on your back in knee-on-belly. Try it - if I had not blown out tendons in my fingers at nationals, i would still cross train it at least 2x per week to enhance my bjj game.

Here's another thought. Chess! Have him learn to out-think people. Honestly, I feel like BJJ (for me at least) is more like chess and poker as it is football and lacrosse.

Jon Watkins
02-09-2011, 11:42 AM
I think basketball has been good for my NoGI Jiu Jitsu mentality with the endurance and focus and explosive speed it requires, but I don't know how well it would transfer over to MMA.

Daniel Patrick
02-09-2011, 12:20 PM

02-09-2011, 01:13 PM
Tell him to bang as many cheerleaders as possible....great cardio!!!

Enrique "Kiko"
02-09-2011, 02:47 PM
Tell him to bang as many cheerleaders as possible....great cardio!!!

+1, make sure he wears his rubber guard every time though

02-09-2011, 02:51 PM
In my opinion.. I would say swimming would be pretty good. Its a great exercise and gets you in great shape. Plus it does more than just work out our legs like a lot of sports. You learn to control breathing pretty well also. So just for cardio and contitioning sake.. id say maybe join the swim team.. (plus it gets you used to wearing those tiny shorts in public :P)

02-09-2011, 03:06 PM
Judo, but I think Hawaii is the only state with HS Judo.

No other sports will translate directly to MM/grappling. However, I think two common ones can help alot. One is football, the sport itself has jack shit to do with fighting (other than the player learns to be assertively aggressive, and this is only for some positions) but alot of HS football teams S&C their players religiously, so he gets 4 free years of plyometrics/explosion/strength training. The other, though I never played, is Soccer. Soccer has ALOT of running, and not jogging, but constant start and stop running, and every former soccer player I ever knew who took up fighting, had decent leg/hip power and could kick decent out of the gate. This in addition to being conditioned mentally to run all the time (so roadwork isnt such a chore) is an asset IMO.

Any sport is decent though, as one develops physically no matter what, and give a future physical base to grow from, but the only practical application sports will be Wrestling, and Judo.

Jason Eisner
02-09-2011, 03:08 PM
Home Economics is solid.

Jason Hyatt
02-09-2011, 03:30 PM

Interesting you mention that. I used to play chess a lot and hadn't in years. I picked it up again just about two months ago for my phone. I'm hoping spending more of my day making my brain think strategically will pay off a little when I can be back on the mats more frequently. :)

Matt "Gumby" Glach
02-09-2011, 03:33 PM
I was a chess tournament player and champion when I was much younger, I like that suggestion a lot! My bro is already pretty good at chess, gives me a run for my money, but I'll make sure he keeps at that.

Great advice guys, keep it comin. :)

Jack LaBarge
02-09-2011, 10:56 PM
Mark Schultz, 3xNCAA National champ, World Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist. Started wrestling his junior year in high school (pretty late for most wrestlers). Was known for his freakish strength. Mark did gymnastics before wrestling, and credits gymnastics for his insane strength. I don't know about starting out in gymnastics at 15 years old ( a little late).

Jeff Doherty
02-10-2011, 08:46 AM
Gymnastics and track for obvious reasons. Strength and flexibility with gymnastics and cardio/endurance with track. I assume a lot fo American high schools have more diversity than in Canada anyways?

I played ice hockey for 12 years before quitting for jiu jitsu and I played recreational lacrosse.

bobby rivers
02-10-2011, 09:02 AM
I think gymnastics is the best prerequisite period. Flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, and spacial body awareness. And there's contact too, when you fuck up. You just gotta smack him in the mouth when you see him to keep his head in the game. Guaranteed he won't do it though.

Danny Stolfi
02-10-2011, 09:08 AM
4 years blank slate, interested in MMA. He shouldn't refuse to wrestle. He's gonna have to learn eventually, starting now will be ideal. What reasons does he not want to wrestle?