By Douglas Ward
Although every bag and piece of equipment has a unique purpose, I've always felt that the double end bag is the most demanding and, therefore, the most beneficial. When used correctly, it forces the action, keeps you thinking about offense and defense and, in general, requires more focus. It can test your willingness to go all-out in training and could potentially expose you if you can’t match its pace or speed. That's the exact reason why many fighters avoid it.
Frankly, it is hard. It requires focus. It's frustrating. It's not easy work.
When you think about it, approaching the double end bag kind of parallels life. Many boxers, especially when they’re starting out, tend to hold back. They hesitate. They won’t fully commit to a punch because they want to wait for the "right time" to throw and they only want to throw when they know the punch will land. Specifically, on the double end bag, they want to be sure they can catch-it and land a solid, satisfying hit. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. For some, their approach to life is very similar. Most people are scared to make mistakes. They're afraid to look silly and risk being embarrassed, so they make the easy choice. They take the path of least resistance. They try to fly under the radar and do just enough to get by. That's not how you get better. You get better by doing uncomfortable things. You improve by taking risks. The risk = reward dilemma is what boxers have to confront every day in the gym. It’s the only way you ultimately win.
The moral of the story is; you have to throw punches, not knowing if they're going to land. You have to have faith, confidence and know that, eventually, you'll connect. One punch landed, leads to two. Two punches lead to four and eventually you pick up the rhythm of the double end bag. Once you get the rhythm and timing down you can really begin to excel. That’s when you improve. That's when life comes together for you...when you stop waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect punch and you just throw.
In the end, it has to start with that first step into the unknown, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel. This is where most people fail, due to fear. They don't fail from an inability to learn or lack of physical skill. They fail due to the crippling fear of the unknown and unwillingness to take a risk. Muhammad Ali put it best when he said, "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
Live life. Throw punches and be willing to make mistakes. Whether it's a bag or big dreams in front of you, dare to risk, miss and even completely fail. It might be a little rough at first, but being comfortable is highly overrated. Put yourself out there. No one ever achieved anything great by playing it safe.
Douglas Ward is the Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing.