Your first steps into your local boxing gym may seem a bit daunting and that is okay. I remember thinking what exercises will we be doing, will the trainers and other boxers be friendly, how will I compare to others in the class and one thousand other random concerns. Fortunately it turned out to be one of the best sporting experiences I’ve had in my life! Now I have been training for a few years, I am proudly able to offer a few personal tips to the beginners out there to give you a little more confidence walking into your first training class. The beginners boxing tips you will find below is a must read before getting started in the sport. The beginners guide will be updated as and when we have new tips and tricks to offer also so be sure to check back regularly.
Now, the list below may get a little long but I assure you that all the tips included here are ones learnt through out own personal combat sports journey, external research and asking professional boxing coaches their thoughts on how someone new to the sport can have the most enjoyable, effective and useful training sessions possible.
1. Find the right gym
Finding a boxing gym which is friendly, welcoming, has adequate equipment, facilities (water fountains, showers, toilets, air conditioning etc.) and professionally licensed and greatly experienced coaches should be a top priority when first starting the sport.
Having proper trainers actively teaching you not only means you will make better progress but is important to reduce the risk of injury. A good coach will have seen it all when it comes to common injuries and be able to advise you on form, technique, exercises and use of equipment which will keep you fighting fit year round. Still, as with any combat sport injuries can still happen and then someone trained in dealing with such issues is a huge advantage.
2. Invest in quality equipment
Similar to the point above, buying high quality equipment is an easy thing to do to help your training sessions be more effective, safe and fun. By bringing the right mix of boxing gloves, hand wraps, mouth guards and equipment to the gym you can minimise your risk of injury and also make keeping proper form and technique that much easier. Keep in mind that most quality boxing gyms will have spare equipment if you have yet to purchase yours. If you are unsure what to get or what you need, head down to a licensed gym near you and ask to give a session a go with their equipment before committing to ordering your own.
You should do your research before purchasing any equipment though as the best boxing gear for your goals, size, age, strength and experience can vary. We recommend starting with our expert buyers guides to get an idea of what options are out there and when they might be suitable.
3. Read up on/study some best practises and techniques before training
Why not have a browse of YouTube, search round Google or even just watch a boxing fight to get a basic idea of some best practises, techniques and strategies. Whilst doing so is by no means a substitute for practising the sport at a gym/hitting the bag, it can give you an initial idea of where to throw your jabs and how to position your body for a more powerful upper cut. This should of course be taught when you start training but none the less, there is some great information available out there online and for free!
4. Stay light on your feet
Ali didn’t say “float like a butterfly” for not reason. Being light on your feet is a key part of being a good boxer. Doing so keeps your reflexes fast and your punches quick. Also, what can easily go with being light on your feet is quicker head movement. This will allow you to slip counter punches more effectively.
5. Stay calm
Many new fighters wrongly assume that they need to bring/channel their aggression in the ring. This is a dangerous thought as aggression leads to mistakes and over confidence in your offence and defence. One strong punch landed on you can decide an entire bout so learning to stay calm (indeed in and out of the ring) will be a necessary part of your training.
6. Control your breathing
If you fail to control your breathing, you will quickly end up gassed out. You should be sharply exhaling each and every time that you throw a punch and at times (when needed) when exerting energy blocking, slipping, dodging or ducking someone else’s punch.
7. Perfect your combinations
When hitting the heavy bag, playing on the speed bag and doing pad work you should aim to perfect your combinations. When it comes to a competitive fight or intense sparring, you will be relying a lot on muscle memory. The best way to ensure you develop this muscle memory is by striking the heavy bag in numerous combinations over and over again.
8. Do your stretches
As with any training regime, make sure you stretch after any training. A cool down and proper stretch will help prevent injuries, reduce recovery time and leave you feeling calm and refreshed. Focus on the key muscle areas (legs, back, chest etc.) when stretching and also control your breathing here as well.
9. Mix it up
Make sure you don’t rely on your strongest punches to carry you in a fight (or any punch or combination). You should be using a wide range of movements, punches and combinations. Hit high with your jabs and drop the knee(s) when throwing hooks to the body.
10. Perfect moving whilst keeping your boxing stance
Whether you are a southpaw or an orthodox, you will need to practise moving around the ring whilst keeping your boxing stance firmly in place. It is easy to get knocked off balance if you loose your stance and remaining grounded also allows you to put more speed and power behind your strikes.
11. Do not forget the defence
Plenty of new boxers get so caught up throwing their power punches that they neglect their defensive strategies. You should be regularly perfecting your ducking, slipping, blocking and weaving so when your opponent throws a punch your way you are well prepared.
12. Work on your stamina
Make sure that from day one you are taking care of your body and nutrition. The better your stamina and endurance, the better your boxing can be. Increases and improvements here will allow you to spend more time training and to have better training sessions.
13. Find a partner to practise counter punches
Having a training partner allows you to take your training sessions and workouts to the next level. Not only will you work up more of a sweat, you will be able to practise your counter punches, an important part of your boxing skill set.
14. Always wash your hand wraps after training.
This one should be self explanatory but is worth noting. You should always wash your boxing hand wraps after training to prevent a build up of bacteria and odour (this will happen fast if you are working up a sweat in your training sessions).