By Bryanna Fissori - Board of Advisors
Boxing Corner Advice
In the midst of a fight, the only person you can physically depend on is yourself. But you're likely not alone. Your cornerman, or cornermen, should be there with you in your ear every step of the way.
One of the most overlooked aspects of fight training is developing the skills to listen to your corner. It’s your corner’s job to see the things that you don’t and to let you know about them. If your cornerman cannot be heard, he's really nothing more than a glorified water boy. So listen up.
Speaking the Same Language: Shadowboxing with Instruction
Shadowboxing with a purpose is important. This is a technique coaches use to familiarize the fighter with their voice and their commands. Many competitors warm up for practice with a round of shadow boxing.
To maximize this time, coaches should give cues during the round such as “one-two, one-two” or any combination they want to see out of their fighter. Each coach has his or her own language. Whatever terms your coach uses to get you to perform a certain technique is what you need to hear. Shadowboxing with instruction causes you to react to the coach’s voice and perform those commands.
Can You Hear Me Now? The Noise Factor
Practicing or sparring with crowd noise creates a realistic setting for the sound of distraction. The best way to get comfortable performing in front of a loud crowd is to do just that.
Competing in a jiu jitsu or judo tournament (for MMA fighters) can grant this type of setting in a realistic way, without affecting any sort of win-loss record. For boxers, an exhibition round in front of a crowd can be effective. Turning up the music in the gym isn't going to do the trick.
In a real fight everyone will be yelling advice; coaches, fans, friends, your grandma . . . Not all of that advice is good, nor is it all meant for you. The goal is to be able to filter through the static until you can hear only your corner.
The Voices in Your Head
Ideally, the only voice you want in your head is your corner and usually this means one single person. This isn’t always realistic because many fighters have multiple coaches. In this case, there's a little more work to be done.
If multiple people plan to give instruction from the outside the cage or ring, they need to put some practice time in too. Both cannot just show up on fight day and expect to give you coherent instruction, not knowing what the other one is thinking. Plus, you will only get more confused when mid- round they start giving opposing instructions, causing you to have to pick sides. It happens. Make them put time in together.
Your coaches are an important resource that you can take with you into your bout. Hearing and responding to them is a tool that has to be trained just like any good technique.
Bryanna Fissori is a professional boxer and mixed martial artist. She has a law degree and has been writing professional for over a decade. She has spent most of her professional combat sports career training on the Island of Oahu and has competed nationally and internationally. Bryanna currently competes and trains out of Denver, Colorado.
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A running series of blog posts collected by TITLE Boxing through our relationships with individuals inside the sport. Fighters, trainers, managers, dieticians, referees and more have offered their words, and we bring them to you here.
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