Sparring is an important step for any boxer to improve their technique! Every boxer goes through plenty of sparring sessions before they ever get into the ring for a real fight.

Once you’ve mastered the basic techniques of boxing, sparring is encouraged to help you put what you’ve learnt into practice. Throwing a jab at an opponent feels very different from hitting a punching bag. Evading an opponent’s punches will require greater mobility when sparring. 

At The Ring, we want to help you step up to the challenge! Here’s a beginner guide to sparring.

Drill the Basics

First, you’ll need to be well-versed in the following:

  • Throwing punches at a moving target
  • Blocking punches while moving
  • Evading punches while moving

Having a solid foundation in these areas can enable you to spar more effectively without getting seriously injured. These skills can be trained through offensive and defensive drills with a partner.

Get Ready for Sparring

You’ll also need to develop certain skills specific to sparring or fighting. Here are a couple of easy drills you can do with a partner to get ready for the ring.

1. Developing depth perception

One partner takes on the “leader” role. The other acts as the “follower”. The leading partner takes one to three steps while shifting in each direction – forward, backwards and side-to-side. This drill is about mirroring your partner by seeing and anticipating their moves – akin to dancing! Both partners can switch sides after a few rounds. There is no need to wear gloves for this drill.

2. Basic combinations

Partners ought to wear mouth guards, headgear and gloves for this drill. The two main techniques being used here is the jab and parrying the punches to get it away from the head. Practise combining these moves repeatedly with your partner. This will enable you to attack and defend more fluidly when sparring.

It’s Time to Spar!

Once you’ve built up a foundation on the above, it’s sparring time. Always remember to wear mouth guards, headgear and boxing gloves when sparring!

1. Choose the right partner

Ensure that you choose a suitable sparring partner. It is often advised that you spar with a coach as a beginner, since they will be in the best position to correct and guide you. Once you are more familiar with the basics, you may choose to spar with partners who are at a similar skill level as you.

2. Agree on the intensity and purpose

Before you begin, ensure that both partners are aligned on how the sparring session will go. If you’re both beginners, you may want to start out slow. You should also get into the ring with a goal in mind. For instance, you may be trying to train up your defence, and get your partner to focus on finding openings. Talking to your partner ahead of time can help both of you to gain more out of sparring.

3. Vary your techniques

Sparring is a great opportunity to try out different techniques. Switch it up and try different techniques you’ve drilled while boxing. If you’ve always wondered how a hook or right cross might play out, here’s your chance.

Sparring can seem intimidating when you’re just starting out. However, it’ll be the best thing you can do to improve your boxing techniques. Level up this year and challenge yourself to achieving this milestone with The Ring!

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