2020 has been a year of setbacks for many people and it’s natural that there will be a lot of us wanting to start the New Year with some renewed fitness goals. For boxers, the year has been a challenge with gym closures and restrictions on pad work, sparring and competition. 2021 is an opportunity to get back on track. So, we’ve asked some boxing experts for their advice to incorporate into your boxing for this year, to make sure you come back stronger than ever.
1. Work on your balance
Ciaran Duffy, Boxing Coach, reminds us to work on balance to improve all elements of boxing:
“Always start from the ground up. Your balance is your first line of defence and your first means of attack. If your feet aren't in position before you start punching, then your punches will not have power, and you will be unstable and vulnerable”.
Ciaran suggests working line drills to improve balance: “Make sure your balance is 50/50 between your feet, and use a line on the ground to place one foot either side of it. Move your feet up and down this line, making sure your weight is evenly distributed, practicing your movement and your shadowing. From there you can maximise your power and your balance”.
2. Focus on Defence
Ella Harris, Boxing Coach and National Amateur Champion says defences are the key:
“During COVID-19 restrictions, where we've been confined to shadow boxing and bag work, it's been easy to focus just on punching and forget about defences, given there's nothing coming back at us. However, a good defence is crucial and the foundation for getting your shots off against any opponent.”
Ella recommends a renewed focus on defence this year, even when working under COVID-19 restrictions: “Do shadow boxing and bag rounds where defences are the main focus. Each round, choose different focuses like trunk and head defences (roll, slip, and duck); hand defences (parry, block, elbow block) and foot defences (pivot, step back, and step to the side). Build on this by using these defences to break up two phases of your attack e.g. throw a combination, do a trunk/hand/foot defence, then come straight back in with another combination. Then reset and go again!”.
3. Add interval sprints to your running
Kathy Adcock, Clinical Psychologist and Boxing Coach suggests getting your sprints in:
“Although all boxers run for fitness and to stay on weight, they often run middle distances at a steady rate. This isn’t that helpful for boxing, where we need to change from a steady rate of movement to fast bursts of explosive energy.”
Kathy suggests adding sprints in to your running or circuits: “Although sprints are hard, they are really effective. Add short explosions of sprints with a return to steady movement as the recovery phase. This is closer to what you will need to do in the ring. If you don’t have access to a sprint-friendly environment, use the assault bike at the gym, or sprint on the spot with fast feet. Sprint for 10-15 seconds before returning to a slower rate, and repeat.”
Try adding these elements to elevate your boxing training, and 2021 will be off to a great start.