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Accuracy is a valuable asset in boxing; helping a fighter to break through a strong defence and correctly time the perfect shot to connect on an opponent.
Knowing when to throw your shots, how hard to throw them and how to throw them with the proper technique are all crucial to understand in a fight.
Precision can beat speed and power, making it important to work on accuracy throughout training in the gym.
BOXRAW outline five training drills that can be carried out to help improve a fighter’s punching accuracy for stepping into the ring.
Timed Focus Pads
It’s the punch you don’t see that does the most damage in the ring. A perfectly-timed shot thrown with the correct technique is more devastating than any general power shot. Working on timing your shots to land when an opponent is open or off balance is important in the gym; with this potentially leading to more knockout victories.
The drill: Have your training partner or coach stand directly in front of you with one focus pad on their hand while spinning the other one (or a rope or resistance band) in a rotation movement. Each time you see an opening during the rotation from your training partner, throw a punch to the pad and bring it back to your chin in one quick motion. Start with the jab and find your timing before moving on to throwing a backhand as well. Once you have got your rhythm you can begin throwing punches more frequently.
Punch Ball Catches
Proper technique with both your hands, hips and feet are crucial when it comes to landing the perfectly-timed shot. Getting into a rhythm is important too and being loose when throwing, rather than standing stiffly and being unable to react quickly to any possible openings in an opponent’s guard.
The drill: Throw a tennis ball in the air in front of you so that it’s just within arm’s reach. Once in the air, throw a jab and catch the ball at the same time. Bring your hand straight back to your chin to make sure you’re being defensively aware, before throwing the ball up again. Once you’re finished with jabs, move on to backhands and hooks in the same motion.
Spaces in an opponent’s guard won’t always just appear in a fight or sparring. The greatest counter punchers in boxing history didn’t just react to shots coming at them, they set them up and knew exactly what was coming in order to land their decisive blows. The cobra bag has become popular today with the likes of Canelo Alvarez and Ryan Garcia; which they use to help improve punch and counter accuracy as well as reactions.
The drill: Using the cobra bag, start off slowly punching the bag and finding a rhythm with just single shots. Once you’ve got used to the speed of the bag you can begin throwing faster and harder punches. When the bag comes back towards you after punching it, move your head by slipping or rolling to practise defensive movements. After moving out of the way, fire back with counter shots and find a groove as you continuously punch, move your head and counter.
Tennis Ball Shadowboxing
Shadowboxing is an old-school and vital aspect of training for any fighter. But adding in other elements can help to improve different areas of your game too.
The drill: Standing in your boxing stance and holding a tennis ball in your lead hand, throw it into the air so it’s within arm’s reach of you. Throw a punch and catch it at the same time before continuing to throw a combination. Once you finish your combination of shots, release the ball in the air again and continue this motion throughout your chosen set time.
Dummy Punch Bag
Hitting the heavy bag is another important element of boxing training, which can help build up punching power and accuracy. Today, there are many different versions of heavy bags that can be utilised for more specific components, including accuracy.
The drill: Using a dummy bag is a modern day training technique that some boxers tend to use, with a lot of MMA fighters also getting involved. The dummy bag provides a human shaped target so a fighter can practise particular shots to certain parts of the body. Using the dummy bag, pick a certain combination or single shot that you need to develop and continuously drill it to perfection.