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There’s nothing quite as rewarding in boxing than seeing your skills start to come together in live sparring.
It’s not just an essential part of your training regimen but can provide you with a great picture of your progress in the sport. For many, the sparring experience can be both extremely exciting and a little daunting, especially after watching more experienced boxers go at it.
Here are some ideas about how to get the most out of your sparring.
It might seem obvious but it’s important to warm up your body and your mind before you think of strapping on your Boxing Gloves for some sparring. When you are focussing on your partner and not much else, you might become oblivious to the stress that your body is under. In this case, injuring yourself is just as likely as getting injured by your partners’ strikes. Pulls, strains and tears can keep you out of your gym and slow down your progress.
Take a moment before class to get a hold of your emotions and focus yourself, tread the line between fired up and frustrated very carefully. Your partners will thank you for it.
Keep it Light
This is very important for boxers of all levels. You should always agree on the intensity that you want during the sparring rounds before you begin. I suggest 25-50% as a starting figure, easing you into the exercise. This way you can build some trust with your partner and avoid injury before perhaps stepping it up when you feel a little more confident. Never spar angry, this is still part of the learning process.
It’s also vital to use the appropriate equipment when you are sparring, to keep both you and your training partners safe. Sparring gloves are usually heavier than your average bag gloves, at 14-16oz. This is to protect the hands of the wearer whilst also preventing damage or cuts to the face of your sparring partners. There are some dedicated sparring gloves out there but other designs such as the ROOMAIF’s Combative Boxing Gloves provide a versatile option for boxers to use one type of glove for all their training needs. They come in various weights and can be used for hitting pads with your coach or your first competitive outing in the ring.
Having just one type of glove for everything is convenient but the one drawback is that they tend to wear out a little faster through so much use. ROOMAIF Combative Boxing Gloves are designed with that in mind and use high-quality material to make sure that the risk cuts and scrapes are minimized throughout the glove’s lifespan, not just when they are new. They also utilise multi-density foam to protect your hands. Hitting another living, moving human is very different from a heavy bag, although keeping the correct form is important, some punches just land awkwardly.
It’s good to use brands that can be trusted and are recognised in the boxing world, as you can put your confidence in the safety of your equipment. German sports and fitness retailer ROOMAIF was established in the early ‘90s and have been providing high-quality products to the boxing world ever since. They manufacture all of their boxing goods with premium materials and sponsor international world champions and Olympians from around the globe.
A Good Defence…
Sparring isn’t all about aggression, it’s important to work your defensive boxing at least 50% of the time. Keep your guard up and your chin tucked even if you aren’t going hard in that particular round. As important as that is however, don’t let yourself become a punching bag by shelling up and closing your eyes. It won’t make the punches go away and is a really bad habit to get into. Try to counter punch, work your combinations and stay active. You can be dangerous too, don’t be afraid to get on the front foot and push the action, so long as you are staying safe.
Look for Patterns
Now you are a little more confident, you can start analysing your sparring partners’ movements and techniques. This won’t just help you understand their tactics better but start to improve your understanding of the sport as a whole. Watch for predictable movements, combinations or habits that you can exploit. Notice their right hand dropping in the final round of sparring? Let them know about it by countering with a controlled hook whenever you see it happen.
This is where sparring becomes extremely rewarding and starts to take you to the next level.