Coaches Corner

If it was easy, everyone would do it. The mindset you need to pursue your sporting dreams alongside sports coaching.

16 Nov 2022

Q&A - Sam from SPORTSESSION x Manuela Marconetto, MMA fighter, and coach

Sam: So to get started, please introduce yourself?

Manuela: I am Manuela, I am originally from Italy. I moved to the Uk five and a half years ago. I am a professional MMA fighter and fitness coach. I have a background in CrossFit, functional training, martial arts and nutrition. I also study osteopathy. 

Sam: Wow you have such a range of skills where do I start ….. tell me a bit about your career in MMA when did you start and how has it gone since then?

Manuela: I started MMA as soon as I moved to the UK. During the lockdown time I couldn’t compete however it allowed me to focus purely on MMA training. As I am part of the GB academy team we were allowed to continue during covid six times a week. I had my Bellator (American MMA promotional organisation) pro debut in Canada. I have also fought under Combat Global where I got called up to a fight short notice. I only had three weeks to prepare for the fight, I had to cut weight and really focus on my nutrition and get in the mindset. She happened to be one of the best in Europe as well! Against the odds I won the fight. My next opponent was under Ballator, this was a frustrating one. I won the fight but the judges deemed the opponent to have scraped the victory. I felt it was unfair and they were doing what was best for their promotions. I had to bounce back and that is what I am doing now. Training so I am even stronger next time.

Sam: Your journey is so interesting. What does success look like for you? What level of MMA do you aspire to get too?

Manuela: Obviously, every fighters dream is to be involved in the UFC. To compete in Las Vegas with such a big audience in front of the best in the world.

Sam: UFC has been in the spotlight more and more over the past few years. Have you seen this as a big positive change for the support and have you seen more competition because of it?

Manuela: I think it’s been amazing for people to recognise and engage with the sport. It has resulted in a lot more funding as well so there are more opportunities for people looking to start the sport.

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Sam: What would you say to someone looking to get into martial arts?

Manuela: I would say if you want to take it seriously the first steps are to find a good team and a good coach. You need people you can rely on who you can stick too. Because if you keep changing teams it is hard to progress. You need a coach who will challenge you every day. If you are going in to spar and end up winning every fight. Then you are not challenging yourself and learning. Becoming too comfortable can be bad for improvement.

Sam: That’s really useful to know. Just on your drive and motivation. Clearly you are someone who doesn’t give up easily considering you have had so many fights and train so intensely. What is the key thing that keeps you going?

Manuela: I would say that it’s about setting goals. I make sure I can set goals that are achievable then I get a step closer to my dreams. I also live in London which is a really expensive city. So I know I have to work hard to stay here. I always say to myself that if it was easy everyone would do it. So I challenge myself to the maximum and give that extra % to get the edge over my opponents. This is what helps me be more successful and do what others can’t do. 

Manuela in action

Sam: And as a coach what do you say to your clients to keep them motivated? 

Manuela: I use tracking and reporting. I understand what the goals are that the client is looking to achieve. This could be for example losing weight. I then take their measurements and set them MMA training week after week. Every week I tailor a training programme to them and give them feedback. By receiving my feedback the client remains motivated. 

Sam: Tell me a bit about why you’re studying osteopathy? How does that help you in your coaching business? 

Manuela: I have done it part-time of a few years now and it’s really important to help me get to know the body better. It’s important in the fitness world to have a holistic vision. With this knowledge I can better understand why the body reacts in a certain way to different types of training. 

Sam: Is that what you enjoy the most about being a coach? Being able to share your knowledge?

Manuela: Yes for sure. And being able to share my pathway into the sport. Is can then use my experience to spread positive messages to clients and I love seeing them improve on a weekly basis. When people feel good and see the progress they have made. It makes me really happy. 

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