Fix Your Jab With Tips From Teddy Atlas
IT’S TIME TO ADMIT IT - YOU’RE JABBING WRONG AND YOU HAVE A PROBLEM
The first step in fixing your jab is admitting that you have a problem. It’s most likely a bad habit.
"In life you're gonna develop good ones or bad ones. Good ones are there for the bad weather, they stay with you forever. They secure you when you need them to secure you, to help you. Bad ones, well they'll haunt you at the wrong times, at the WORST times."
Cornering a fighter is a lot of work. You watch what your fighter is doing. You watch what the other fighter is doing. You're looking to make sure your fighter is following some portion of the game plan, hopefully all of it, and making sure they're doing their work well.
New coaches, stablemates or a friend from the gym who draws the assignment to corner tend to overlook a very key thing and that’s watching what the other guy is doing and looking for those specific things. Habits.
This is harder in the amateurs as the fights go fast. You have only two minutes to assess your boxer and their performance let alone have the time to find holes in what their opponent is doing, so you need to look for very specific habits. Not mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes and it's up to the fighter to capitalize on those mistakes when they happen. As the corner you're looking for habits.
The great Teddy Atlas illustrates this in the way only he can. It's a fantastic story about Mike Tyson's fight with Carl "The Truth" Williams.
The basic gist of the story is that Williams had the bad habit of dropping his right hand when he threw the jab. We've all seen that done. We all know at least 10 people that do that. In fact, take a look around the gym right now and you'll see a huge percentage of the folks on bags, pads or shadow boxing doing it. Hell, we've all been that fighter that's dropped that rear hand when throwing the jab.
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THIS is where that correction begins. THIS is where we can learn to make that bad habit become just a time to time mistake, and then have it corrected. Later on down the road we can use this common bad habit as a trap, as a way to bait the punch that we want. But that's for another time.
Here is where we create the good habit of keeping that rear hand glued to our head.
Why is this important? Isn’t my jab what really matters, not my rear hand? What’s it matter?
That’s a great and fair question. My boxing coach answered that very question for me about 20 years ago:
“You’re dropping your right hand after you jab. (I’d jab) - you’re dropping your right hand after you jab (I’d jab) you’re … sigh …” WHAP!
The hook rung my ears, my eyes watered and oh crap, am I gonna cry? But hey, the right hand stopped dropping.
It’s a fundamentals thing
If you know Teddy then you know he is a stickler for the fundamentals and developing good habits. Teddy believes that the jab is the most important punch in boxing. Orthodox or Southpaw. "It's always that jab that leads the way" and if you want to improve your jab and your chances of winning a match, then read on.
The first thing to identify in this discussion is that there are two parts to throwing a jab. Not the mechanics, there's lots of moving parts, but ultimately there are two strong components of throwing the jab. The front hand and the rear hand. You can't have one without the other. It just doesn't work for sound fundamentals and keys to victory, and it goes against one of Atlas's golden rules or commandments:
"Never give up defense for offense"
When you're cornering, or when you're fighting you want to see if that rear hand drops during the other fighter's jab, AND you want to make sure that YOUR rear hand is staying up by your head.
How do you train yourself for this? Half the battle is knowing that this is a thing (thanks GI Joe) and it's a matter of bringing this knowledge and awareness with you into the gym.
Let's talk more next time about specifics that we can do. In the meantime I highly recommend checking out Teddy Atlas's Keys To The Door for a look at 14 signature jabs, and not just because you're reading this via Dynamic Striking, but because it's legitimately top notch stuff. Watch the preview and judge for yourself.