When you were born, or very close after, you started developing a dominant hand. It may even have been wired into you genetically - I don't know and it really doesn't matter. What matters is that you learned to like to use one hand more than the other to do things like hit your brother or sister, write, or grab at things. That favored hand is known as your dominant hand and is the reason people are called right or left handed. Seems trivial, but stick with me.
The majority of the population ended up being right handed while about 7-10% of the world is left handed. Those that are left handed also tend to have a bit of ambidexterity in them - meaning they can use either hand. Don't consider this a hard and fast rule. These are just generalizations, there are also plenty of right handed ambidexterous people out there as well.
Ready To Deal With This?
Photo by Greencolander
To be really great boxers, we need to train our mind as much or more than we train our body. Training the body is the easy part. The human body responds the same way in most people. It will get stronger, faster, and increase endurance by training a specific way. Over time, with consistency, your fitness level improves.
Our minds are not quite so easy to deal with. Becoming a fierce competitor takes more than a strong body - you need the mindset of a champion to be one. We have to prepare our mind for combat - to help control emotions and do away with worry, fear, and despair.
Controlling fear is critical. Allowed to run rampant, fear will do all sorts of negative things to your body. Reactions are slower, you'll understand less of what is going on, and you will not perform at your best.
Being afraid in the ring is natural. Facing someone who is intent on hurting you invokes some level of fear in everyone and most people are afraid of any activity that requires a personal level of contact.
In the next lesson you'll learn some boxing punches. Before doing that, watch this quick video showing you how to make a proper fist. If you don't get this right your boxing career is going to be really painful and short.
Training Champion Boxers
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All it takes is 10 years and 10000 hours of training...and a focus on long term athlete development.
Scientific research has shown that this is the minimum amount of time it takes for someone who is relatively talented to achieve elite status in their chosen sport or activity. For those of you who coach or train boxers - that translates into about 3 hours of boxing training daily for 10 years.
This poses a significant challenge for anyone wanting to either be a championship boxer or train one. While age is not a good indicator of peak athletic development, in broad terms, humans will peak somewhere between 25-35. Before you get discouraged, though, that guideline is rough and there are certainly older athletes who are still at the top of their game.
A study called The Path of Excellence took a look at U.S. Olympians between 1984 and 1998. Key findings that support the 10 year/10000 hour rule include:
- U.S. Olympians began their sport at age of 12 (male) and 11.5 (female)
- It took them 12-13 years of skill development from the time they were introduced to their sport until they made the Olympic team
Taking a punch is a personal thing and you'll know your opinion on it immediately after receiving your first one. A lot of it is mental but you'll have to deal with it however you can, especially if you want to compete.
Some people can not handle getting hit, it immediately induces panic and instincts of flight while other people can get hit by what seems like a truck, shake it off, well up with anger and present a flurry of hurt.
The truth of the matter is that with 16 oz gloves, headgear, and an ounce of skill there is little chance you are going to be seriously hurt. Full speed blows to the head are absorbed quite well while blows to the ribs will probably cause bruising. Again, it all depends on who is boxing, but that is the generality of it.
The best thing to do, is learn some defense, thus minimizing the number of punches you are going to have to deal with altogether. There are quite a few things you can do to either avoid being hit altogether or at least absorb some of the incoming power so they don't do as much damage.
Slip Jab Counter
Photo by CT Library
Counterpunching is the bridge between boxing offence and boxing defence. An effective counterpunch can help you regain the initiative and put the fight in your favour. At all times, you want the initiative. You want to maintain momentum and control the fight. Counterpunching ensures the fight stays in your corner.
Counterpunching is a style of its own. Some boxers, like the coach I described above, use counterpunching (counter attacks) as their main strategy. He was so good at it, it was nearly impossible to get a punch thrown, let alone land one. His timing was perfect and he knew every little thing to look for to uncannily sense when a punch was coming. If, by chance, he didn't have time to react to it, or a flurry came at him, his defence was good enough that it didn't matter. He could slip, weave, and dodge anything coming his way.
If you want to learn to counterpunch, you have to force yourself to do the following:
Learn to Jump Rope
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Skipping is an awesome workout. It works a lot of muscles including your shoulders, calves and quads. It promotes agility, coordination, and balance - all important aspects of boxing. When one thinks of boxing, skipping usually comes to mind. For those starting out, skipping can be frustrating, but keep at it. With practice it becomes second nature. There are a variety of different ways to actually skip and you'll want to try them all as skipping the same way for 15 -20 minutes is not only boring, but it puts tremendous stress on your shins. Do not be surprised if you have shin splints the first time you skip.
If your shins do start to bother you. Stop and let them rest. Stretch them out, then try again. Do not push through the pain of shin splints - always stop and stretch. Eventually your shins will catch up strengthwise and will stop bugging you. Just use some common sense. If they are painful, give them a rest. Just remember there is a difference between pain and injury - some pain you can push through, other pain is indication of something bad.
Here are 19 variations of skipping. There are more, but these will get you started.
Intense Boxing Workouts
Photo by Keith Ellwood
Get ready to sweat. Like I've said over and over again, boxing workouts are by far the most intense, satisfying workouts you can do. I know you're going to love these. All the workouts I outline below contain specific directions but in general they should be done in a boxing format - 3 minutes on, 1 minute off to simulate rounds in the ring. All workouts should be preceeded by the warmup and followed by the ab workout. When you begin, 3 minutes is going to seem like an eternity especially if you are giving it your all, but in time, things will get easier and you know you will be getting better. To be able to go 12, 3 minute rounds with 1 minute rest between each, you have to be in top shape.
A boxing workout will generally consist of: