The Jab | 5 Common Mistakes & How To Fix Them

The Jab | 5 Common Mistakes & How To Fix Them

The jab is the most important punch in boxing. FightCamp Trainer Coach PJ explains the five (5) most common jab mistakes and how to fix them.

Published: December 6, 2022

Topics: Boxing, Training

Author: PJ Shirdan

Out of the six (6) basic punches in boxing, punch number one is the jab. The jab punch is executed by fully extending your lead arm for a direct hit to your opponent’s face.

The jab is the most important punch in combat sports, especially boxing. Here, FightCamp Trainer Coach PJ explains the five (5) most common mistakes when hitting a jab and how to fix them.

5 Most Common Jab Mistakes

1. Dropping the Lead Hand

Dropping the Lead Hand

There are two (2) ways boxers are prone to dropping the lead hand when hitting a jab:

  • While extending the arm to punch

  • While retracting the arm after the punch (a ‘lazy jab’)

In both cases, you are leaving yourself open to getting counterpunched. If you drop the lead hand on the extension or on the retraction, you are exposing your face to your opponent. It’s an easy way to get yourself knocked out.

How To Fix It:

Keep your lead arm high and maintain a straight line from your face to your opponent (or the bag) on the extension and the retraction. Bring your lead arm right back to your face after the punch.

2. Dropping the Rear Hand

Jab Mistake #2: Dropping the Rear Hand

The second common mistake that Coach PJ sees very often with beginners is dropping the rear hand on the jab extension. This leaves you open to a counter hook from your opponent. A misconception many boxers make is thinking that their whole body has to go into the jab motion, but keeping your body tight and compact is the most effective way to make you a better fighter.

How To Fix It:

As you extend the lead arm to hit the jab, keep the rear hand back, protecting your face.

3. Pushing the Jab

Jab Mistake #3: Pushing the Jab

“Pushing the jab” means leaning into the punch. In your boxing stance, if your head leans too far over the lead toe, you are bringing your face closer to your opponent. This can get you knocked out.

How To Fix It:

To keep your head and your body safe, keep your head back in your center line, rotating your torso as you extend the jab.

4. Flaring Your Elbows

Flaring Your Elbows

Coach PJ’s least favorite mistake is one that he used to do for years during his boxing training. “Flaring your elbows” means winging out your elbow as you throw the punch. Many beginners do this in an attempt to get more torque, but flaring that elbow out won’t actually get you any more power or speed. Boxing teaches you to keep your elbows tight to the rib cage to protect against body shots.

If you flare your elbow, you are not only opening your rib cage to get hit, but you are also telegraphing that punch. In the sweet science of boxing, it’s hit and not get hit. You don’t want to show your opponent what you’re about to do.

How To Fix It:

Keep your elbows tight to the rib cage instead of winging them out.

5. Not Jabbing Enough

Not Jabbing Enough

The jab is the most important punch in boxing. It’s not only going to set you up with your power shots, but it also works as a distance and range finder. The jab will help you in a lot of different ways, from parrying to pawning, to even giving your opponent something to distract them as you set up a power shot. If you don’t throw enough jabs and only rely on throwing one every now and then, you are limiting yourself and not using your full arsenal. More importantly, you are giving your opponent an opportunity to win the jab exchange.

How To Fix It:

Focus on practicing the jab as often as you can. Keep both the lead and the rear hands up, keep those elbows tight, and don’t lean too far forward towards your opponent or the bag. Throw the jab frequently.

Keep On Jabbing

It’s never too late to start from the beginning. The classic jab punch is key for any boxer. Set yourself up for boxing success in and out of the ring.

Take your workouts to the next level and train like a fighter with the at-home connected fitness solution used by world champion boxers Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather. FightCamp has everything you need to work out on your schedule, with premium boxing equipment and hundreds of on-demand strength, conditioning, kickboxing, boxing, core, and recovery classes led by real fighters.

As Mike Tyson said - “FightCamp is the next level of training!” 

PJ Shirdan

PJ Shirdan is a FightCamp Founding Coach from the Philadelphia area. He found boxing as a way to heal and rebuild his life as he became a competitive fighter. PJ is a NASM, TRX, and USA Boxing Coach certified.

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