A few days ago I was holding mitts for a friend of mine who was interested in getting heavily involved in boxing. He had some training in the past but not much and wanted to learn like a pro. After watching him throw a few basic punches; jab-cross-hook, I could tell he was committing the same fallacy that so many novice fighters do and is the root of becoming a successful fighter.
So What is that Important Boxing Tip?
It’s a rather simple tip and anyone can do it but for many, it is very difficult to accomplish when boxing…
The tip is simple: Relax
Now, I know some of you are going to be reading this and say that relaxing isn’t an unknown secret but so many fail to do so when boxing.
Being able to relax will do numerous things for you:
If you’re relaxed, you won’t be expending so much energy by staying tense and having anxiety. This will allow you to box a lot longer. Just look at Evander Holyfield and George Foreman, both of these guys were able to box into their 40′s without being tired because they learned how to keep themselves relaxed and save energy.
Being relaxed will allow your punches to flow a lot more smoother and quicker which will lead to more powerful punches. If you think of your arm more like a snapping whip over a solid steel pipe, you’ll notice that your punches snap because they are quicker and more powerful!
Your defense will improve considerably! When you aren’t relaxed and allow anxiety to take over, you develop tunnel vision which hurts your peripheral vision considerably, making you vulnerable to hooks and other punches that aren’t coming straight at you. A relaxed fighter is also able to move a lot better, slipping, bobbing, weaving, parrying and pivoting away from punches more smoothly and effectively.
My first experience in boxing
I’ll never forget the first time I sparred. I remember watching so many Mike Tyson videos and thinking “all I have to do is show off my power and this guy will go down.” When the bell rung, I went after my opponent like an animal and as I tensed up and threw my hardest punches at my opponent, he threw back and landed repeatedly. Although he wasn’t hitting as hard as me, I was starting to get tired and soon had to resort to covering up in a defensive position because I was too tired to throw strong punches.
My trainer explained to me afterward that sparring isn’t a street fight and that I have to stay relaxed and smart. He told me that tensing up and trying to kill the opponent is something a novice street fighter does, not a smart boxer.
I didn’t listen and continued to get myself tagged and tired in the ring. It wasn’t until I started studying Floyd Mayweather Jr. and James Toney videos did I really start to understand the importance of staying relaxed.
These guys just did everything so smoothly while in the ring and made it all look easy. They didn’t clench their bodies and try to kill their opponent. Instead, they methodically break down their opponent by staying relaxed and smart.
How do you stay relaxed while boxing?
There are two tips I’ve learned to stay relaxed while boxing…
I take deep breaths whenever I get the chance. I learned once that when you start to get nervous you get the drowning effect. People who feel like or are drowning in water begin to panic and start taking extremely short breaths, not utilizing the power of oxygen to relax their body and brain.
I also stay confident in my abilities. No matter what I do, I make sure I have confidence in my abilities. Being unsure of yourself causes you to question your abilities and makes you nervous about accomplishing whatever task is in front of you. Even when I’m about to fight, most of the time I belittle my opponent in my head and tell myself why I am much better than him.