In the modern day of competitive sports, boxing has become one of the most prolific combative art forms. The popularity of boxing has soared in recent years, as the multi billion dollar commercial enterprise has forged some of the world's most entertaining fighters. Athletes like Manny Pacquiao, Andy Ruiz Jr, Vasiliy Lomachenko, and Floyd Mayweather have starred inside of the boxing arena. Boxing has even filtered into Mixed Martial Arts, as many fighters have added prominent boxing skills into their repertoire. The likes of Connor McGregor, Jon Jones, Junior Dos Santos, and the Diaz brothers have all showcased how successful boxing can be, even in such a high profile combat sport like Mixed Martial Arts.
What this article covers:
- Why Drilling Techniques Are Important
- How to Warm up For Boxing
- Boxing Drills for Beginners
- Advanced Boxing Drills
- Agility Drills
- Setting Goals
- Combing All Boxing Elements Together
Athletes are not just born great at boxing, they all need to work hard and dedicate their time to their training systems. There are many different drills that a boxer can utilise to improve their skills in boxing. All athletes need to take care of their bodies, so warming up properly is an essential part of the process. Boxing drills are extremely important, and athletes will need to work on the focus mitts to increase their punching fluency. Athletes can work on the heavy bag to increase the power in their punch, the speed bag is used to increase their speed of punching, and the double ended bag is used to work on their evasive maneuvers. Footwork drills are extremely important, and athletes will need to work diligently to ensure they are improving their ability to use their feet. Shadow boxing is a drill used to combine all of these elements together, while improving the athletes overall cardiovascular capacity.
WHY DRILLING TECHNIQUES ARE IMPORTANT
In all combat sports, drilling techniques are crucial to their development, and in boxing all athletes will adhere to these standards. Boxing is a highly technical system of striking that incorporates a series of different movement concepts. This means that boxing can be broken down into different components, which makes it easier to learn. Drilling footwork is among the most important aspects of boxing, and all athletes must spend long periods of time fine tuning their ability to use fast, and strategic footwork. Drilling other components like punching is critical to a boxer, and this is because the nature of boxing expects all athletes to use formidable striking to win their matches. Drilling the technique of the punch is a vital component for an athlete to use accuracy, power, and systematic footwork.
HOW TO WARM UP FOR BOXING
Warming up for combat sports is essential for any athlete, especially if they want to become successful inside of the ring. Implementing warm up drills will help athletes become more limber, and ready to train, or compete inside of the ring. Warm ups should always start with dynamic stretching, as opposed to static stretching, which means to move around in a way that gets the blood pumping, and the oxygen moving through their system, and to their muscles, before they attempt deeper stretches called static stretching. This means athletes should be jogging, or skipping to get the body started, or doing other exercises like rotational leg movements, rotational hip movements, as well as rotational shoulder movements to help lubricate the joints, and oxygenate the muscles.
Athletes can use strength and conditioning, or cardio sessions as a way to warm up their body. This is where a series of light push ups, sit ups, squats, or lunges can be implemented, which will go a long way to helping an athlete prepare themselves for their training sessions. Boxing training can be quite grueling, as it involves high elements of intensity, and dynamic movement, where athletes will suffer from muscle strains, and exhaustion. This is where using strength and conditioning exercises will help to get an athlete's motor started, and prepare their muscles for their upcoming training. Flexibility, and mobility is a key element to a good warm up system, as athletes should be monitoring how their body is preparing for their boxing sessions.
BOXING DRILLS FOR BEGINNERS
There are many different drills that beginner athletes should be implementing into their training systems. One of the first, and most fundamental exercises is to understand how to lateral shuffle. Footwork in boxing is crucial, and having the ability to move sideways, or diagonally will benefit athletes both offensively, and defensively. A good drill is for an athlete to stand in the centre of the ring into their fight stance with both of their hands guarding their chin. From here they will simply shuffle their left foot to the side, and then shuffle their right foot to close the distance, this can be repeated several times as they maneuver around the ring. Athletes can ramp up this drill by shuffling diagonally, as well as forwards and backwards, and this is a good drill to utilise, so athletes can get used to the movements they will need to use inside of a real boxing match.
Utilising a square drill is another basic fundamental concept that beginner athletes should have a look at. This is a simple drill that requires an athlete to use a square boxing ring, or mark out a square on a matted area. From here the athlete will start in the back left hand corner in their fight stance, as they start to maneuver themselves towards the other diagonal corner of the ring. Once they have reached the corner they will shuffle sideways to the opposing corner, and then shuffle diagonally backwards to hit the last corner of the ring. This drill is designed to help an athlete understand how to control the area inside of a boxing ring, as they will commonly need to use this mentality to trap their opponents inside of a real match.
All athletes must learn how to improve head movement in boxing, because fundamentally using evasive movement with their head, can help them escape danger, or initiate an attack. Beginners need to focus on this type of movement by practising hitting the focus mitts with basic combinations, while using head movement to duck underneath their trainer's punches. This drill will benefit beginners exponentially, as they will learn coping mechanisms on how to evade punches, and then initiate counter strikes. During these focus mitt drills athletes will also parry their trainer's glove, as this is another common way to evade strikes, and then throw counter punches over the top. Using blocking, parrying, ducking, and rolling under punches is critical for all boxing athletes, and must be practiced substantially during their training sessions.
ADVANCED BOXING DRILLS
Some of the more advanced boxing drills are utilised by professional athletes, or more seasoned strikers. Athletes will commonly engage in boxing mitt drills, where they will access a wide range of punching combinations, which are yelled out by their boxing trainer. These types of drills will commonly require athletes to practice a jab, a cross, a body hook, and an uppercut, or the double jab, straight punch, and stepping into the left body hook. Whichever detailed combination an athlete will practice, they must do it with accuracy, fluency, speed, and power if they are to increase their ability to use these combinations inside of a real boxing match. Going up against an opponent takes a lot of courage, and if their system is unhinged then they are destined to fail. This is why athletes must procure all of these skills from fundamentals, all the way up to more advanced movements.
There are other advanced drills like using the mirror drill, which is when two athletes will go toe to toe inside of a training session. From here one athlete will be the offensive fighter, while the secondary fighter will play pure Boxing Defense Drills. The offensive athlete will throw an array of striking combinations, and the defensive athlete will simply mimic the movements, by ducking, rolling, and evading punches. This type of drill is designed to help both of these athletes improve their striking ability, and getting used to evasive maneuvers. This drill can also include some actual striking, but in terms of training systems it should be lighter punches so the defensive athlete can learn how to use evasive movement. If the punches are coming in too hard and fast then it will result in too many injuries, and the athlete will take longer to learn this defensive system. Once the athlete has built up fundamental skills in this drill, the offensive athlete can ramp up their punching speed, and power, as this is the natural progression of striking training.
One of the more advanced boxing drills is to utilise the speed bag, and this is one of the hardest training drills for athletes to master. Hitting the speed bag is how athletes can practice their timing, and their speed of punches, as this is one of the most iconic forms of improving an athlete's striking skill. All professional athletes will put in extensive training on the speed bag, as they will commonly move their weight distribution from their left foot to their right foot, as they throw fast punches. The double ended bag is another good training tool, where athletes can utilise more advanced workout drills. The double ended bag is held up by elastic, and is designed to fling back at an athlete as they punch it. Using this type of drill will help them to master their evasive movement, as they roll, and slip punches from left to right, while throwing counter punches on the bag.
One of the most important concepts in boxing is an athlete's level of agility. An athlete that is more agile will be more capable of moving fast in all directions, during their matches. Boxers will commonly step into range of their opponent, before needing to change direction quickly in order to access different angles on their opponents. This is why agility training is critical, as all athletes in all forms of sports will use agility training to maximise their ability to move in their respective sports. A good agility drill is by using boxing ladder drills, which is well known to many combat athletes, and other codes of sport like American football. Athletes will lay out a rope ladder on the mat, and then use footwork to step sideways in and out of the ladder's rungs, in order to improve their ability. There are many different drills that can be used on the ladder like hopping laterally, or diagonally, as well as criss cross running, and two footed jumping. All of these agility drills will benefit athletes substantially in becoming a more seasoned fighter that can move around the ring.
There are other agility drills that will help athletes substantially increase their level of movement as a boxing athlete. Setting up a series of cones, and then running at full sprint, before stopping suddenly at each cone is a good way to increase agility in an athlete's ankles. Another good system is to run at the cone, before side shuffling around the cone, and then moving backwards, before running to the second cone and repeating the process. These types of drills are designed to increase an athlete's ability, which is a critical part of becoming dynamic on an athlete's feet, while they are competing inside of the boxing arena.
Becoming a seasoned boxer is all about setting goals, and athletes of all sports must do the same if they want to improve their ability at their respective form. Boxing has a lot of moving parts, which means mastering this form of combat in its entirety can be quite difficult. Athletes will need to break down all of the boxing components like punching fluency, punching power, footwork, head movement, punching accuracy, punching speed, and strength and conditioning. All athletes should set goals in their training sessions, so they can improve within each different component of boxing. This may seem like a slow build, but in terms of becoming a proficient striker all athletes must have all of their fundamentals covered, so they can broaden their knowledge to incorporate more advanced movements.
COMBING ALL BOXING ELEMENTS TOGETHER
Boxing can be an extremely difficult sport to master, especially considering all of the elements involved. Learning how to punch with accuracy, or to develop a powerful punch can be quite easy to master, but putting all of these aspects together into a more cohesive, and systematic way is the hard part. Learning how to be evasive with an athlete's head movement, while still staying guarded, and then being capable of using good footwork to take a more advantageous position is crucial in being more dominant with their striking, and is how an athlete can reach the upper echelon of professional boxing.
One of the best ways to combine all of these systems together is through simple shadow boxing techniques. Shadow boxing is a solo drill where athletes will maneuver their way around the ring exploring good footwork, while throwing punching combinations at an imaginary opponent. This may seem strange to some people, but all of the professional boxers utilise this form of training to master their ability inside of the ring. Shadow boxing can be used as a warm up drill, but is more predominantly used to combine defensive, and offensive footwork, head movement, and punching fluency all together into a more harmonious, and systematic form.
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