Sparring with a Coaches Eye
I don’t spar often anymore, I’m usually working the corner of our fighters. Every now and then, I’ll spar with one of our fighters.
Sparring used to be something I took for granted. I’d spar a few times a week, so I didn’t think too much about any individual sparring session.
Since I spar so infrequently, it’s something I really cherish every time I’m able to get in there. And after we’re done, I make sure to talk to our fighters, watch film, etc. to review what they did well and could improve on. It’s one thing to see things happening from the corner, and it’s another to be in the ring witnessing that first hand chess match going on.
Coach Josh from MXN Boxing (Salinas) really echoed the same sentiment. As a coach, you’re not trying to outgun your opponent. But you bring so much experience to the table that it’s great to give a fighter different looks.
There’s so much to unpack from every sparring session. It makes me realize how much I relied on raw athleticism when I fought, and learned a lot of things intuitively without really understanding why things worked when fighting. That’s what separates the good from the elite fighters. Everyone naturally gets better over time, but the best are able to dissect their sparring sessions and get that extra 1% out of every day. It’s a small difference, compounded over years and years that make the difference.
The jab is the most important punch in boxing
I can’t stress this enough.
After all these years of not fighting, I have one thing that bails me out every time – my jab.
One of the things I drill into my fighters is to win the jab exchange. It’s not just about establishing your jab, but also about taking away their jab as well. The sport gets so much easier when you can do that. You’ve set up your attack, while taking away the lead punch that they throw in theirs.
I have a lot of ring rust every time I get in there. I notice this with the timing of my counter punches. Yesterday, I was a little off with my check hook. The slip-2 can be difficult to time as well. I think my real measure is counter-uppercuts – those are the toughest to get your timing back on. But if I’m landing my jab, everything else becomes easier.
About the Author:
Coach Ian is an ultra-marathon runner and a volunteer coach at the non-profit boxing organization, Dreamland Boxing, in San Jose, CA. He competed in boxing for both Dreamland and collegiately at UCLA. His goal is to empower all to be the best that they can be, in boxing and in life. You can find Coach Ian on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
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