BOXING DRILLS FOR BEGINNERS
Boxing is one of the most popular forms of combat sports in the United States of America, and with professional athletes like Oleksandr Usyk, Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Joe Joyce, and Andy Ruiz Jr, the future of boxing is on a trajectory towards greatness. Boxing has two major components, one is athletes becoming professional within the sport, and the second is purely for fun, fitness, and self defense. Many young upcoming athletes are training hard so that they can make a name for themselves on the big stage, while other people are purely interested in boxing just to gain higher fitness levels, and a basic understanding of boxing combat knowledge.
What this article covers:
- Warming up For Boxing
- Focus Mitt Drills
- Footwork Drills
- Agility Drills
- Working on The Bags
- The Importance of Strength and Conditioning
There are two different styles of boxing training, where one is designed to help athletes become highly proficient in professional boxing skill. The second method of training is more anaerobic, which will help people become more athletic, and lead a healthier lifestyle. This type of training is incorporated in boxercise classes, where women are known to use these concepts to enjoy their fitness. Anyone can hang a boxing bag up, and practise their punching ability, but to gain considerable knowledge within the art an athlete needs to work through more of the fundamental processes that boxing entails.
WARMING UP FOR BOXING
Beginners of the art will often wonder how to warm up for boxing, and this is a valid question especially when they are new to the art, and are not sure which exercises to utilise. Warming up the body is crucial to becoming more proficient, while training, or competing as a boxer. This is the same concept for someone who is just looking for fun and fitness, as they too will need to warm up considerably so they do not injure themselves, and so they can run on a more systematic form of training. There are many different drills that athletes can utilise, and jogging is one of the most prolific, and old school methods that athletes can execute.
It is extremely important that all athletes understand the difference between dynamic stretching, and static stretching, because these two concepts can make or break an athlete, as they try to improve their boxing skill. Dynamic stretching is all about fluency of movement, getting the blood flowing, and the oxygen moving throughout the muscle system. This can be administered by doing star jumps, rotational movements with their legs or hips, running, or even skipping. Static stretching is completely different, and is more of a deeper stretch, which is used to limber up the muscles, and iron out any sore spots that an athlete may have. Static stretching before dynamic stretching can be detrimental to their muscles, as they are not warmed up enough to enter into these deeper stretches.
Utilising different skipping techniques is one of the best boxing drills to help warm up an athlete. Skipping for extended periods of time is a great way to build up cardiorespiratory endurance, which will also strengthen the legs, and increase the athletes understanding of using footwork. Another great warm up drill for beginners is shadow boxing, and this is utilised even by the more advanced athletes within the sport. Shadow boxing is a solo drill that requires an athlete to explore creative footwork, as they maneuver their way around the mat, throwing strikes against an imaginary opponent. This is a great way to open up the body, and get all of the systems moving, all while building up a comprehensive series of punching skills, and evasive movements.
FOCUS MITT DRILLS
All beginners to the art must work on boxing pad drills, and this means to punch the pads that their trainer, or training partner is holding. A beginner must first work on basic mitt drills like simply working on their jab, or their cross multiple times so they understand the technique of the punch. There is no use working on sophisticated punching combinations if they have sloppy technique with each individual punch. This is why athletes are seen to punch the focus mitts twenty times in a row with the same punch, and this is not designed to be boring or repetitive, but to increase their ability to use that punch more effectively.
Once the athlete has developed good technique with each of the basic punches, they can then start to work on basic combinations on the boxing pads. Utilising a jab cross combination is one of the more fundamental and basic combinations that athletes will begin to learn. This is a good way to set up more complex versions of combinations, as they progress through their training. Working on the double jab is another basic combination that all boxing athletes need to master. The double jab can be an extremely formidable weapon if used correctly, and this is due to its unpredictability within a boxing match. Beginners can practice the double jab, and straight punch combination, which can be highly instrumental in surprising an opponent. This is because opponents will commonly expect an athlete to throw a cross after the first jab, and because the double jab is applied the opponent is unsure of what punch is coming next. This is an extremely valuable combination, but is still an extremely basic punching concept.
Footwork is among the most important concepts in the sport of boxing. Without good footwork boxers will not be able to infiltrate into their opponents range, nor will they be able to generate enough force into their punches. There is a significant importance for beginners to start off their journey by implementing a strong series of footwork fundamentals. Building good habits from the beginning will only help to benefit a newcomer to the sport later on down the track. There are many different footwork drills that will help athletes with their offensive movements, as well as boxing defense drills. Whichever way a beginner looks at it, footwork is critical to becoming proficient in any form of boxing combat.
Beginners can use basic lateral shuffling as a drill, and this involves simply standing into their fight stance, as they shuffle sideways. This drill is extremely easy, and is a fundamental must for all newcomers to the sport. Understanding how to sync their footwork with the rest of their body's movement is crucial to staying protected, while they try to expose their opponent. The lateral shuffle drill is as simple as moving their left foot out to the side, and then bringing their right foot in, to close the distance. These athletes could also be practising shadow boxing punches while they lateral shuffle if they wish to practice early stages of cohesion between these two elements.
Along with footwork head movement is equally as important, and all athletes need to combine these elements if they are to become proficient in boxing skill. Beginners will often wonder how to improve head movement in boxing, and the simple answer is by utilising shadow boxing techniques. Of course an athlete needs to be shown how to move their head a certain way, so that it maximises their efficiency inside of the ring. Shadow boxing is a great way to practice these movements, and athletes will begin this solo drill by exploring their footwork, while they roll over their punches. Once an athlete gets the hang of how to shadow box, they will begin implementing head movement drills where they can throw a jab cross combination, before rolling under an imaginary punch, and utilising angle changes, and hooks to the body. Using this type of methodology will only benefit an athlete in how they move, and how proficient they become inside of the ring.
Becoming good at boxing requires athletes to increase their level of agility, and this means to have the capability to move quickly and easily, while also being able to change direction rapidly. Boxers commonly use a lot of angle changes, which are designed to surprise their opponents. Having the ability to stop suddenly, move forwards quickly, or retreat quickly are essential tools that all boxing athletes need in their tool bag. There are multiple ways that athletes can increase their agility levels, but they do have to put in some hard work. Setting up cones is one way of training agility, and athletes will begin by sprinting towards the cone, before stopping suddenly at the cone. This drill can be repeated several times in order to build up the skill to move in quickly, but then stop if needed. Any training movements that require athletes to stop suddenly need to be practised, and mastered, otherwise they are at a high risk of rolling their ankles, or hurting their knees.
Another good style of agility training is by using boxing ladder drills, which are designed to help an athlete master their footwork. The athlete will simply lay down a rope ladder on the mat, and begin to use side stepping in and out of the ladder's rungs, while keeping their hands up guarding their chin. Athletes can also use criss cross stepping with their feet, or forward and diagonal shuffling through the rungs to mimic how they would move inside of the ring. To make this drill even more realistic the athlete can throw shadow boxing punches as they step through the ladder, to emulate the form they want to bring into their fights. Utilising agility drills is a pivotal part of becoming proficient in boxing skill, and incorporating excellent footwork means they must put in extensive work into different agility drills.
WORKING ON THE BAGS
Beginners must put a lot of time and energy into working on the bags. This means to utilise one of the many different boxing bags, so they can improve different components of their boxing game. The heavy bag is predominantly used for improving an athlete's power, and all they have to do is repeatedly hit the bag, so their power ratio can increase. The heavy bag can also be used in a circling drill where athletes will punch the bag, and circle to their left, or to their right, this is so they can practice cornering their opponent. An important tip for beginners to remember is that if they are going to hit the heavy bag, they need to first wrap their hands with hand wraps before pulling their boxing gloves on. This is an important factor, so that they do not break their hands, or injure their wrists in any way.
The speed bag is one of the most traditional, and prolific boxing bags in the business. All high level athletes will use this bag to increase their general speed of punching, but more importantly it is used to improve their timing. Punching the speed bag is quite a complicated drill so beginners will need to start off slow, and just tap the bag before they attempt to increase their speed like a professional boxer. Another good drill for beginners is to hit the double ended bag. This bag is a smaller boxing bag that is held on both ends by an elastic band, so that when the athlete punches the bag it flings back at them to replicate an opponent. Athletes can use this bag to work on their evasive skills, and their counter striking, which is considerably important in a boxing match.
THE IMPORTANCE OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING
Strength and conditioning is extremely important for all combat athletes. Beginners of the art will need to build up a comprehensive series of strength and conditioning, so they can withstand the rigorous training sessions they will endure throughout their boxing journey. Building strength is critical for a couple of different reasons, and the first being so they can find enough power within their muscles to execute hard and dynamic punches. Boxing requires athletes to have explosive power, so they can move in quickly, and still generate enough force through their core, and into their punch. This is why all boxing athletes, especially beginners must do strength work to increase their chances of winning matches. Strength work can come in many different forms like pure weightlifting, but a better way is to use the more functional method of doing push ups, sit ups, squats, chin ups, and lunges.
The second reason that beginners need a comprehensive series of strength and conditioning is so that they can stay safe from injury. Building up strength, and mobility in all of their joints, and muscles is imperative for sustaining longevity within any combat sport. Boxing is no different, as it can take a heavy toll on an athlete's body over time. Building up a high level of strength within an athlete's body will only increase their ability to become more proficient, and successful in the art of boxing. Injuries can severely reduce an athlete's career if their body is not physically prepared for a combative art form like boxing. Becoming stronger is only one aspect, as athletes must consider becoming stronger on a more functional level.
Boxing is all about speed, and endurance, and the athlete that is fitter, and can last for twelve rounds will most commonly win the fight. This brings about a need for all beginners to increase their cardiorespiratory endurance. Increasing an athlete's anaerobic capacity will help them to breathe easier, and give them more energy during the heat of battle. One of the most fiercest opponents inside of the ring is exhaustion, and any athlete that has suffered from this during a fight can say just how daunting it is. Beginners must build up a strong sense of cardio, and doing this from the beginning will result in a higher proficiency in overall boxing skill. Becoming fitter will also give an athlete a stronger sense of confidence, especially knowing that they are leading a healthier lifestyle, which will last long after their boxing career is finished.
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