Whether it’s your first day of school or work, or a first date, we all get nervous. We have preconceived notions that everyone will be watching us and judging us, and the same thing happens when we join a boxing gym or start a new training regimen. We get anxious about looking like a newbie.
[Pro Tip: No one besides your instructor will be watching you; they're too busy worrying about their own game!]
FightCamp Trainer Rocky Harris shares five (5) things to avoid doing on your first day of boxing training so you can look experienced stepping into class or starting your at-home boxing journey.
5 Common Mistakes To Avoid On Your First Day of Boxing
1. Confusing Your Right From Your Left
This can be complex and challenge your coordination once you are in your boxing stance.
Figure out which hand is your dominant hand
Right hand dominant = right hand and right foot back in an orthodox stance
Left hand dominant = left hand and left foot back in a southpaw stance
Naturally you will want your dominant hand facing forward, so this may feel awkward at first, but over time it will become second nature
Once you get the stance down, practice throwing a few punches using a mirror at home
If you’re still not sure about your boxing stance, here we break it down a little further
2. Punching With Your Chin Up
In boxing, it’s very important to keep your chin down to avoid leaving yourself open to head shots from an opponent.
Having your chin down doesn’t mean having your head down
Your eyes should be up and always focused on your target
Tuck your chin into your neck
3. Don’t Hold Your Breath
A common mistake that a lot of new people make regardless of fitness class is holding their breath.
Holding your breath does not increase your punching power; it will actually gas you out and make you more tired
Key Tip: When punching, perform small, forceful breath exhalations
Don't be afraid to make a little noise when you’re punching!
4. Flaring Elbows
When you’re practicing your guard you want to keep your hands up (on both sides of your chin) and your elbows tucked in close to your body.
It is crucial to maintain a tucked, non-punching elbow, while the opposite arm is punching
Having a flared elbow leaves you susceptible to body shots
5. Looking Down or Away
Most boxers are shy on day one and tend to look down or away. Keep your eyes up and on your target in order to strike efficiently.
If you are sparring with a partner, looking at their chest or shoulders is a good target focus
Keeping your eyes on your target will help you see what your opponent is doing and what is coming at you
The same is true for body shots
Keep your head and eyes up on your target, level with the shoulders, even when you’re changing levels
Good Partner Practice Drill:
Have a partner hold up a number while you are punching, keep your eyes on their fingers and even call out the number as they change it to make sure you’re paying attention
This drill is also great for practicing defense
Bonus Tip: Don’t Say Sorry!
A key thing to remember is that you are at a boxing gym! If you are sparring with a trainer and accidentally miss a pad and hit them, don’t feel obligated to say sorry. That’s their job and they are used to it!
You’re there to box and sometimes hits happen–don't say the “S” word!
We’ve All Been There
Everyone has been a newcomer and had their first day in a boxing class. The thing to remember is that you are there to learn, to box, and most importantly, to have fun! If you keep Rocky's tips in mind, you won’t look like a complete noob on your first day–and you’ll be on your way to fighting confidently.
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