To adjust your speed bag to the proper height, your eyes should be level with the fattest part of the bag. For maximum benefit, keep your hands up and in constant motion while working the bag.
There are few sounds that are as synonymous with boxing as the rhythmic pounding and rebounding of the speed bag. Opening the door to any gym and hearing that striking melody immediately let’s you know that “you’re home.” Yet, as much of a fundamental piece of equipment as it has been for more than a century and as traditionally engrained in the workout routines of countless world champions as it is, some coaches still question the importance or value of the speed bag.
The speed bag doesn’t achieve one, singular goal. It isn’t just about eye-hand coordination or speed. When it is used correctly, it can provide some beneficial edges that other pieces of equipment don’t. Although a fighter can get good enough on the bag to do it with their eyes closed, it still involves having a sense of timing. The movement of a fighters hands, the sound of the bag rebounding off the platform and maintaining that successive movement all work together to help the fighter gain a sense of rhythm. As Neurologist Oliver Sacks once stated, “human affinity for rhythm is fundamental.” So the speed bag, in essence, if nothing else is natural and helps create a sense of harmony in the gym.
This is the first in what will be an ongoing series of articles that explore what it takes to build the perfect fighter. These articles will lead you through the processes of laying the proper groundwork in the gym through the various stages of competition. The series will touch on some of the fundamental aspects of boxing, like delivery of punches and ring generalship, but will focus primarily on the mental and philosophical aspects of the sport. The basics are the basics the world over and, although most coaches have their own way of doing things, there is also a science behind the sport and there is little room for interpreting that in any other way than the way nature intended. There is a reason boxing is called the “Sweet Science.”
Approaching this series in the same way you would when you’re building anything correctly, we’ll begin in the same way…starting from the ground up.
A Need for Speed – Proper Footwork
An underutilized resource of many fighters is their footwork. Although they realize how important it is in relation to balance and movement, they fail to understand what a vital role it plays in both offense and defense. As a fighter, quick movements can carry you within your opponents range to connect and rapidly move you out of range before your opponent is able to counter.
A small step on the inside can quickly put you in position where you can hit and not get hit. By constantly moving, this puts your opponent in a reactive mode where he is continually being forced to readjust to be in a position to mount an offensive attack. Using footwork to step to the side of your opponent, you also take away their forward momentum and can then use that against him.