How To Become A Better Fighter
Everyone who consistently walks into the gym wants to be better. The continual learning process that happens there is part of the appeal of boxing. It's a constant challenge to better yourself and improve. However, that only really happens when a strong foundation is laid and you're able to do the right things right. So here it is...
Seven Things You Can Do to Improve your Technique.
1. Shadowbox in a mirror. There are some fighters who continually shy away from watching themselves when they shadowbox. They either feel uncomfortable punching the air and mimicking fighting or don't know what to focus on. Think about the basics and watch yourself doing them. Hands up. Elbows-in. Chin down. Bend at your knees, not at your waist… the basics. If you don't really know the basics, then find a good coach. If you don't have access or know how to find a good coach, there are plenty of good resources online, just be sure they're a credible source. TITLE Boxing's YouTube channel is one resource.
2. Record your workout. Not sure why you feel awkward?? Are you getting hit too much? Can't seem to get any power in your punches? You might be surprised at the mistakes you'll catch yourself making when you record your workout and then go back and review it. Taking an outside perspective and being objective about what you see is always beneficial because what you think you're doing, what it feels like you're doing, isn't always necessarily what you actually are doing.
3. Don't assume you're executing the basic movements correctly. Even if you “know how to fight”, it's easy to stray from doing the most basic moves properly. Slow your workout down from time to time and break down your moves. Are you turning your punches over? Are you rolling your shoulders? Is your weight balanced? Are you moving your head in between combinations? Rushing through every workout without taking some time for self-evaluation is like skipping to the end of a good book. You may get the gist of the story, but you've missed all of the details in the process.
4. Study what successful fighters do well. Not all famous athletes do everything correctly. Some even have some bad habits or poor technique, but you should know enough about the sport to see when a good fighter is doing something well. Pick up on their movements, study them and see why they work. Chances are they work because they're rooted in good, fundamental boxing. Copy that fighter.
5. Strengthen your weaknesses. The first thing to go when you're tired is technique. When you get fatigued, you get sloppy. Be sure to get and stay in good shape so you have the ability to execute proper form. You can't think about perfect form when you're struggling to just make it through the round. If you're sucking wind, your technique is probably sucking too.
6. Keep it simple. Trying to execute all of the nuances of a top athlete may be putting the preverbal “cart before the horse”. If you're trying to use Floyd Mayweather's shoulder roll defense, throw punches with the intensity of Gennady Golovkin or put together perfect combinations like Timothy Bradley, there's a chance you're not ready for that. Maybe you should be working on perfecting each and every punch with exact form first. Or maybe you're getting so caught up in looking flashy and slick, that you're ignoring some of the basic principles of fighting. Nothing produces positive results like solid fundamentals performed at their best. You'll go farther in this sport by doing basic moves the very best you can, rather than looking impressive with a couple of cool moves and gimmicky tricks.
7. Understand that perfection requires repetition. Anything worth having takes hard work and discipline. Discipline includes patience to do the boring things, over and over and over again. It's not always fun, but it will get the job done.
Becoming a better boxer isn’t about doing incredible things; it’s about doing the basics extraordinarily well. Although some fighters have developed a signature move or unique style, most of today’s great fighters haven’t reinvented the wheel. They’re doing what every great fighter that’s come before them has done. They learn the basics. They apply their own nuances to them and then they work, train and execute them better than the guy standing across the ring from them.
Boxing has its own complexities, but it all starts and ends with the basics done right.