Before delving into specific defensive techniques, it is important to note that proper execution and training of these techniques should be supervised by a qualified coach.
The guidance of a trained coach is invaluable in correcting any mistakes and ensuring optimal performance.
For this reason, I won’t be giving you any tutorials on how to perform each punch but I will give you a guide with small tips to keep in mind
While you do learn them with your coach
As you should already know, the first punch you ever learn to throw in boxing is your jab.
This is because the jab is going to be the first punch in the majority of combinations that you throw.
This is seen at all levels of boxing from you the beginner throwing his first punch all the way up to the undisputed world champion.
In case you don’t believe me here's a quote from the current undisputed light middleweight champion of the world, Jermall Charlo
“I'm in love with my jab. I use it to get started, then use different punches from my arsenal to finish.”
So how do you throw a proper jab?
As I said earlier, I’m not going to give you a tutorial however here are 5 things to keep in mind in order to throw an effective jab
1. Fully extend arms
By fully extending your arm, you ensure that your punch reaches its target with maximum power and accuracy.
It allows for a longer reach, increasing your range and ability to keep your opponent at bay.
The extension of your arm also helps in maintaining a balanced and fluid motion,
Enabling you to follow up with quick combinations or defensive maneuvers effectively.
2. Turn your hips
As you initiate the punch, rotating your hips enables the transfer of power from your lower body to your upper body.
This rotational movement adds momentum and strength to your jab, increasing its impact.
By engaging your hips, you generate a kinetic chain that propels the punch forward, allowing for greater speed and force.
3. Breathe with each punch
As you deliver the jab, breathing out forcefully helps generate power and enhances your control over your punch.
It does this by allowing you to engage your core muscles, promoting stability and balance during the movement.
Additionally, breathing out at the same with the punch will prevent you from holding your breath and making you feel more fatigued
So you will be able to keep that high intensity for longer periods of time
4. Bring your hands back to your face
This ensures that you protect yourself from potential counters while maintaining a solid defensive position.
By quickly retracting your jabbing hand back to your face, you are able to block any punch that your opponent might throw with their backhand
I personally struggle with this and let me tell you that it’s all fun and games until your opponent leaps forward and counters with an overhand that lands flush on your chin
The moral of the story, bring your hand back to your face so you dont get wobbled with one of the most devastating punches in boxing.
Side note: If getting hit is something that you struggle with and you’re not sure exactly how you can improve it,
Feel free to check out our recent blog post “WHY DEFENSE IS SO IMPORTANT IN BOXING” for a full breakdown of each defensive move in boxing and what situations they should be used in
5. Keep elbows down
By keeping your elbows down, you engage the muscles of your shoulders, back, and core,
Allowing for a more efficient transfer of energy from your body to your fist.
This alignment also protects your chin and ribs, making it more difficult for your opponent to counter your jab effectively.
So, remember to maintain a disciplined posture with elbows down when executing a jab, and watch your punches become more accurate, powerful, and defensively sound.
It is important to know that making these mistakes aren’t a bad thing as long as you continue to work on them.
And truthfully, the best boxers in the world still haven’t perfected these 5 principles
Plus almost all of these principles apply to every other punch in boxing as well.
So if you can memorize all of these tips and keep them in mind the next time you are training
Then you will instantly notice an improvement of your speed, power, rhythm, and overall technique
Common Punching Mistakes
Now you’ve learned the main tips on how to effectively throw not just your jab but every other punch in boxing
However, even with these 5 tips you still won't be able to perfect your technique
Because there are always mistakes to be made when practicing these tips
So let's cover 7 common mistakes to avoid while you perfect your punching technique.
1. Leaning forward
Beginners often lean forward due to a lack of core engagement or a desire to reach their opponent quickly.
Leaning forward while throwing punches can compromise balance, stability, and power generation.
To fix this, focus on maintaining an upright posture with a slight forward lean from the ankles.
Also make sure you engage your core muscles to stabilize your body and generate power from your legs and hips, allowing for better balance and stronger punches.
2. Standing too close to the bag
Beginners may stand too close to the bag because they lack awareness of the proper distance.
Standing too close to the bag limits the range of motion and reduces the effectiveness of punches.
To correct this, maintain a comfortable distance from the bag, ensuring that you can fully extend your arms without overreaching.
This allows for proper extension, rotation, and power transfer through the entire punch
While also getting you customed to the actual distance you should keep your opponent at.
3. Hands drop as you get tired
This mistake occurs due to muscle fatigue, lack of focus, or a decrease in overall conditioning.
As fatigue sets in, beginners often allow their hands to drop, exposing their heads and compromising defense.
To avoid this, always keep it in the back of your mind so that when your hands do eventually drop, you can notice is straight away and raise them again
Also, regular conditioning exercises, such as shadowboxing or mitt work, can help build the endurance needed to keep the hands up during extended bouts.
4. Telegraphing punches
This mistake can happen due to excessive winding up, exaggerated movements, or predictable patterns.
Telegraphing punches is a predictable action that occurs right before you throw your punch. This essentially signals to your opponent what you are about to do.
Making it easy for him to react and capitalize on your mistake. To address this, focus on developing a smooth and fluid punching technique.
Minimize unnecessary movements and aim for deceptive feints and subtle shifts in body position to make your punches less predictable.
5. Throwing all your technique away when you get tired
As exhaustion sets in, beginners may abandon the proper technique, resorting to sloppy punches and diminished power.
This mistake stems from fatigue, mental fatigue, and a lack of conditioning. To counter this, prioritize conditioning and endurance training to improve overall stamina.
Unfortunately, you're going to need to start running more often and at higher intensities.
Mental resilience and discipline are also crucial. Focus on maintaining proper technique and form, even when tired.
Also, practice remaining calm to sustain energy levels and keep mental focus throughout the fight.
6. Only punching to the head
A lot of the time beginners will only punch to the head when boxing
It makes sense when you see Hollywood boxing movies and even real-life knockouts all being big shots to the chin and temple
But what they won’t tell you is that the most painful spot you can get punched is in the body
So next time your practicing your combinations try switching levels and hitting the body to actually give yourself a better chance of hurting or even knocking down your opponent
7. Being too tight
Beginners may tense up while they box due to nervousness, lack of relaxation, or inadequate body awareness.
Being overly tense and tight during punches can impede fluidity, speed, and power.
To fix this, consciously focus on staying calm and loose during your punches. Keep your muscles relaxed and your movements fluid, allowing for faster punches and more effective weight transfer.
Incorporate regular stretching and relaxation techniques to improve overall body control and reduce tension.
By understanding these common mistakes, knowing what causes them, and implementing the suggested fixes,
Fighters can refine their punching technique, improve overall performance, and minimize vulnerabilities during fights.
Speed vs Power
Unfortunately, it is impossible for anyone to punch at their maximum speed and maximum power at the same time.
To be clear, when I say speed I am referring to the rate of multiple punches and not the speed of a single punch
So you must understand that there is a trade-off when deciding between a fast, confusing combination and a hard devastating power shot.
When you prioritize speed, you will sacrifice some power in your punches.
To achieve greater speed, you should minimize the rotation of your hips, avoid solely focusing on driving the punch through the target, and keep your knees less bent.
Additionally, a key technique for speed is to throw the next punch as the previous punch is returning to your face, maintaining a rapid combination.
This lack of rotation and upright punching position are the main factors that are guaranteed to take away from your punching power
On the other hand, when you prioritize power, you should emphasize bending your knees more to generate power from the lower body, focus on driving the punch forcefully through the target, and put more emphasis on twisting your hips and shifting your weight.
This extra twisting and low center of gravity are the main factors that hinder your ability to throw multiple punches at once.
Ultimately, striking the right balance between speed and power is essential to optimize your boxing performance.
To learn how to train for both speed and power in your punches, simply scroll down to the “How to train for speed and power” section.
Where we will provide you with some training methods and exercises that can help you develop and enhance both attributes, allowing you to deliver lightning-fast punches with devastating power.
When to use speed vs power
Knowing when to utilize speed versus power is crucial in boxing strategy.
In the early rounds, when your opponent is fresh, relying too heavily on power punches can be risky.
While power shots have the potential for a knockout, they often require more energy and can leave you more vulnerable to counters.
Instead, focusing on speed allows you to outmaneuver your opponent, score points, and conserve energy for the later rounds.
As the fight progresses and your opponent starts to tire, transitioning to power becomes advantageous.
Exploiting their fatigue with well-placed power shots can yield a more significant impact, potentially leading to a knockout or a decisive advantage on the scorecards.
However, using speed in the later rounds can be a double-edged sword.
While it allows you to maintain a high output of punches, it may lack the knockout power needed to secure a definitive victory.
Understanding the consequences of using power in the early rounds and speed in the later rounds is essential in developing a well-rounded and adaptable boxing strategy.
How to train for speed and power
For speed: Stand just within range of the bag and throw punches as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Take a 30-second rest. Repeat this sequence 3 times with 3-minute rounds and 1-minute rest in between.
For power: Follow the same workout but load up every punch, aiming to use each punch to generate more power. Avoid taking too much time between each punch to maintain the flow and intensity.
Shadowboxing with 1-2kg Weights
For speed: Begin the round with weights and focus on the volume of punches. Then, drop the weights and transition into high-volume combinations, executing them as fast as possible. This drill helps develop speed, endurance, and muscle memory.
For power: Slow down the punches, emphasizing proper technique and shoulder engagement. By performing controlled movements with weights, you can focus on building strength and power in your punches while avoiding the common mistakes mentioned below.
For speed: Perform push-ups as fast as you can for 30 seconds, followed by a 30-second rest. Repeat this pattern for 3-minute rounds. This drill helps enhance explosive pushing power and muscular endurance.
For power: Do sets of 6 clapping push-ups. Explode up from the ground, clap your hands at the top, then catch yourself and repeat. Ensure that you push up as hard as you can, emphasizing power generation through your upper body and core muscles.
For speed: Use lighter weights and focus on high-volume repetitions. This approach aims to improve speed and endurance while avoiding excessive muscle bulk. Incorporate exercises using free weights, medicine balls, kettlebells, and bodyweight movements.
For power: Work with heavier weights and lower volume. This allows you to develop strength and power in your muscles, enhancing your ability to generate force in punches. Remember not to train like a bodybuilder; instead, prioritize functional strength development using compound exercises and incorporating a variety of equipment.
Additionally, consider signing up for our email list to be notified when we release a future blog post about weight training specifically tailored for athletes.
By organizing these drills, you can easily understand the intended purpose of each exercise and incorporate them into your training regimen to enhance both speed and power in your boxing skills.
Mastering the art of punching in boxing is a continuous process that demands commitment, patience, and the guidance of a qualified coach.
While this blog post has equipped you with valuable tips to enhance your punching technique, it is important to remember that perfection is a journey rather than an endpoint.
Even the most accomplished boxers in the world are constantly working to refine their skills.
By following these tips and avoiding mistakes you can accelerate your journey
To put less of your focus on your technique and more on your boxing IQ and situational awareness
But at the end of the day, all of this is useless without dedication and consistency because without those 2 factors
You’re never getting anywhere in boxing.
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