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Learn To Lay Traps With Teddy Atlas

Learn To Lay Traps With Teddy Atlas

The Importance of Setting Traps with Teddy Atlas

Good strategy is imperative in striking. Sure, the power behind the punch is important, but that is not nearly as hard to achieve as good strategy is. So much goes into good overall striking strategy, but the goal is to be one step ahead of your opponent.

Setting a trap is essentially doing something that you know is going to cause a certain reaction from your opponent. You do this with the anticipation of your opponent's reaction, so you can capitalize on it.

Teddy Atlas puts it perfectly when he compares it to fishing. He uses the analogy that sure you can go fishing with dynamite, but the fish are probably not going to come out how you want them. Real fishing is using a lure, to make the fish believe they have something so you can capitalize on it.

This is exactly what setting a trap in striking is. Tossing out a lure to your opponent to make them think they have something, when really you are expecting it and can come back and counter.

In this video, Teddy Atlas gives a demonstration and insight into the fundamentals and the importance of setting traps. Check it out below!


The example Teddy chooses to explain in this video starts out with a jab, as many combinations do. The jab is a great way to get into the pocket and begin setting up your combination. It is also a great quick punch to use by itself if you want to get in and out. Staying in the pocket when you're not throwing anything is dangerous for obvious reasons.

After you use the jab to get into the pocket you are quickly going to get out. By doing this and re-creating the space between you and your opponent, you are basically inviting him to come towards you and try to counter with something. What makes this a trap is that you are doing it intentionally.


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Chances are he may be thinking you just saw an opportunity to land a quick jab, so you jumped into the pocket to land it and then got out. This makes him think that he now has a great opportunity to counter. However, you did that on purpose and understand exactly what he is thinking, so you already know his plan is to come forward into the pocket and respond. This is when you can hit him with your counter.

The counter does not have to be some wild combination. It is better to land a couple solid shots than to start getting greedy. Once your opponent steps in, before he has a chance to throw anything you can hit him with a quick 1-2 combination, and then get out of the pocket again.

Teddy makes the point that the key to getting to a high level in this sport is to stay calm. The calmer you are, the more you can see. To be calm in a place of chaos is the ultimate goal. When you are able to get to this point, it is almost as if you are outside your body watching yourself, and you can see exactly what you need to do.

When you are calm at that level, you begin to see things you were previously unable to see. In a situation like this where we are setting a trap, it is extremely applicable. For example, you set your trap again with the jab and then quickly get out. As your opponent moves forward into the pocket, he simultaneously throws a right cross and misses. If you are calm, you are immediately going to notice the opening on that side and will come in with the left hook. Same thing if he comes into the pocket with a left hook, he's opened up for you to counter with a right cross.

The goal is not only to be calm in a chaotic situation, but is to be calm enough to notice exactly where your opponent is missing so you can capitalize on it. Teddy also pulls a life lesson out of this, acknowledging that as this should be your goal in the gym, it should also be your goal in your daily affairs such as at your job. Calmness is key.

Teddy Atlas has been coaching in the sport of boxing for ages. He trained the Sweden Olympic Boxing Team for the 1980 Summer Olympics, and has trained athletes such as Mike Tyson, Timothy Bradley, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and so many others.

Teddy is one of the most sought after coaches in the world. In this four part instructional, Teddy goes over the fundamentals of boxing. You can expect to find setting the table-jabs, leads-counters, learning distance, inside fighting, the art of shadow boxing, and so much more.

The Fundamentals of Boxing by Teddy Atlas
Whether you think you need to brush up on your fundamentals or not, do not miss the opportunity to learn from fight expert Teddy Atlas, check out his instructional here!