Photo by Joel Muniz / The Unsplash License
With a new influx of fans joining the sport, after the recent YouTubers battle between KSI and Logan Paul, we ask what does it take to be a great boxer? In addition to working on your stance and perfecting basic moves like the Hook, the Jab, the Cross, and the Uppercut, there are certain skills that are beneficial — and necessary — in the ring.
Here are some of the basic skills that all boxers should practice and possess:
Practice Discipline and Concentration
It’s important to take in information from all around you and apply it to your future moves. You need to be able to think on your feet and adapt immediately in the ring. And one of the ways you can achieve this is by being disciplined.
Just like in a strategy game like chess or poker, you need to teach yourself to be disciplined and focused. This applies inside and outside of the ring because if you’re not disciplined about food, drink, exercise, training, and sleep, you’ll feel the effects inside of the ring. And meeting all of these day-to-day short term goals will help you to perform at your best and achieve your end goals.
As for focus, you need to be focused on what you want to achieve overall and what you want to achieve in the present moment. This will likely take some practice as you learn to eliminate distractions. If your head isn’t in the ring, your opponent will quickly take advantage of that. So don’t let them — be focused!
Practice Endurance and Resistance
These are two of the most important skills you’ll need in the ring. Until you’re there, in the middle of the action, these skills might not seem like much. But you’ll need to be able to have the energy to make it through each round. That’s where these skills tie into being disciplined. Discipline will help you to have more energy to endure and resist your opponent. Because if you haven’t practiced conservation of energy, you might start to feel wiped out after the first round.
Resistance is huge in boxing because you need to be able to physically resist your opponents’ moves and punches, ideally without a lag in response. To improve resistance, a lot of this comes down to training, practicing your defense, and strengthening your muscles (especially the neck muscles).
Develop Physical and Mental Quickness
What it all comes down to: You need to be faster than your opponent. This will give you a huge advantage because you’ll be able to better resist moves, respond to moves, and initiate moves. Your opponent will be scrambling to keep up and you’ll be one step ahead of them.
Being physically quick on your feet in the ring will, of course, be a huge asset, but developing your quick-thinking skills might be an even greater asset. It will help you to anticipate your opponents’ moves and immediately react appropriately. But how can this be achieved? A lot of this is through physical practice and repetition. You won’t even have to think about how to respond because you’ll pull the appropriate response from your muscle memory (which you developed during practice).
Outside of the ring, you can also work on your mental quickness through games of strategy like chess, crossword puzzles, or poker. These will help you to exercise and stretch your mind, which you’ll benefit from during practice and when you’re fighting.
Learn to Take Informed Risks
Taking chances is a necessary part of life — and boxing. But taking certain types of risks might not come naturally to you. Sure, you take risks just fighting in the ring, risks like losing or getting injured. But are you taking risks on certain difficult moves or in your career?
If you want to grow as a boxer and become the best boxer you can be, then you’ll need to learn to take a variety of risks to get where you want to be. The key is learning to take informed risks. If you want to perform a difficult move, you shouldn’t just wing it — that’s a good way to get yourself injured or damage your reputation — you need to work your way up to it by practicing.