Are you a keen boxing spectator? Did you catch the recent Wilder-Fury fight? Deontay Wilder has an amazing fighting style, doesn't he? Those wild windmill punches...

You would be strenuously discouraged from such pinwheeling if you trained with a private boxing coach. It's a huge expenditure of energy and really doesn't yield much in the way of results.

Of course, that doesn't mean that Fighter Wilder doesn't pack a punch - literally. He's known for his exceptional power punches, as reflected by his record of knockouts: a ratio of 97.61%.

Thus, we can safely conclude that what he does works for him, at least most of the time. Not when he faced off against Tyson Fury, though. Fighter Fury did have the benefit of private boxing lessons because his entire family consists of a long line of boxers; his father was Gypsy John Fury.

Just as Fury Senior helped his son hone his fighting skills, Superprof private boxing coaches pass on their best advice to help you become the fighter you always wanted to be.

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Can You Learn Boxing at Home?

In these COVID-uncertain times, you may be wary of working out in a gym, even though boxing training, by its very nature, demands social distancing. Or you may simply want to develop some boxing skills before you make your gym debut so you don't get laughed out of the place.

Don't scoff; you'd be surprised at how many people do that!

Don't worry about being laughed at if you're unfit at the gym
Some people are afraid to be laughed at if they go to the gym completely unfit. Photo credit: State Library of New South Wales collection on Visualhunt.com

Whatever your reasons, you can learn how to box at home... but only to a certain point. And not a very distant one, either. You might practise and develop your fighter's stance, for example, or start your boxing fitness regimen. You could also skip rope at home; that's a fantastic way to both build your cardiovascular endurance and master the basics of footwork.

We'll go more into detail about footwork a bit later in this article.

If you are thinking about private boxing lessons - say, with a Superprof boxing coach, those are tailor-made for you to learn how to box at home.

As you start your home boxing lessons, you won't need to have any special equipment; no bags, gloves, or even weights. However, you should look into buying at least a heavy bag, a speed bag, and a skipping rope (if you don't already have one) because you'll soon reach a training dead-end without at least a bit of kit.

Conversely, if you're not ready to invest in private boxing lessons - maybe you're not sure if you want to make a go of boxing training, there are other ways you can learn the basics of boxing at home, on your own.

We've written an entire article on the ways you can do that...

Building Hand Speed

Despite our commentary of Fighter Wilder in this article's intro, we find him to be a remarkable boxer. After all, anyone who comes to the sport as late as he did - he was 20 when he started training and has racked up the record he holds...

Well, you just can't say much of anything bad about his fighting style and boxing abilities.

However, a private boxing coach would teach you that power is not all it's cracked up to be. What matters is speed. Landing multiple blows wins more fights than waiting for - and maybe never getting a chance to land a mega-punch.

That's what happened during the much-hyped Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in 2015. Floyd Mayweather consistently stayed on Manny's left side, taking away any advantage that southpaw fighter had at using his ultra-powerful punch. if only Fighter Pacquiao would have landed a bunch of short-range, fast jabs...

When a fighter tenses up, they are likely looking to land a power punch
You can recognise a fighter's intentions by how tense their arm muscles are. Photo credit: IRGlover on VisualHunt

Contrary to logic, you don't necessarily build your hand speed by extra-long sessions hitting the speed bag. You do it by letting go of your aspirations to deliver powerful blows. Does that sound strange?

When you aim to deliver power, your muscles tense up to a much higher level than if you were going for speed. If you can follow the physics, you'll know that pushing anything hard and heavy takes more work and time.

By contrast, if you want to move something light and easy, you'd be able to do that much faster, and much more easily.

That's why your private boxing coach would tell you to loosen up. Unbunch your shoulders, unclench your biceps, and loosen up your core a bit. And then, start throwing light jabs - quick out, quick in. How does that feel?

As you build hand speed, your upper body should start feeling looser and more ready to move. The more you practise, the better you'll be able to switch between practising power delivery and speedy jabs.

As you need both of those decidedly different skills in the ring, you should master them both. Unfortunately, far too much emphasis is placed on power, so you should make an effort to also direct yourself to resources that will teach you how to build hand speed.

Boxing Footwork

The power v. speed debate is not the only one boxing enthusiasts are passionate about; upper body versus lower body skills get plenty of mention, too.

When you listen to boxing commentators narrate a fight, pretty much all you hear is how a fighter hits, what blows they land, and whether they are on the offensive or defensive. Occasionally, you might hear the words 'pivot', 'slide', and 'shuffle' but, unless you know exactly what they mean in the boxing world, you might think they are all synonyms.

After all, sportscasters are fond of synonyms, aren't they? An opponent is never beaten, they are crushed, trounced, annihilated, handed their hat...

But 'slide', 'shuffle' and 'pivot' do not describe the same action; they are distinct types of foot moves that fighters make in the ring.

  • shuffling means taking a quick step up with your lead foot; your lagging foot follows
  • sliding means stepping to a side - left or right, in a sideways manner (you might have 'slid' when you were a kid on the playground)
  • pivoting means standing (on the ball) of your lead foot and turning your body up to 180 degrees, either to or away from your opponent

Legendary fighter Muhammad Ali was a master of the slide. He could pop in, land a punch and pop out so fast his opponents barely had time to take in that they had been hit before Ali had repositioned himself and jabbed again. Yes, Fighter Ali was not too shabby at shuffling, either.

In the ring, the focus may be on the punches but it's the footwork that makes them possible. Mastering boxing footwork would be a critical component of your private boxing lessons. Indeed, your boxing coach might well dedicate several early sessions just on pivoting, shuffling, and sliding.

They would also encourage you to study fighters whose footwork is supreme.

One of these fighters does not have a good fighting stance
The Red fighter clearly hasn't spent much time shadowboxing; just look at that stance! Photo credit: ijac on Visualhunt.com

How Important is Shadow Boxing?

The one boxer training activity that ties all of the elements mentioned in this article together is shadowboxing.

In your private boxing lessons, your coach will tell you that shadow boxing is the best way to build hand speed. It works better than reflex bags, double-end bags, and even speed bags because punching at nothing removes the obligation to focus on hitting a target. It allows you to stay loose and extend your reach as far as it can go.

When you hit a bag - or an opponent, you only need to reach as far as that target, right?

Shadowboxing is an excellent way to develop footwork skills, too. Your private boxing coach might, for instance, instruct you to throw a few punches in one direction, pivot and throw a few more punches, shuffle and throw a few more, and, finally, slide and let a few more rip loose.

However you/your coach organises the sequence, shadowboxing helps you tie your upper body movements with what your feet are doing. As you get used to moving like a fighter, your foot/hand coordination will become automatic; not something you have to focus on or fret over when you spar.

Finally, shadow boxing is definitely a skill you can work on at home - though it is best to shadow box with a partner, as you may have learned in your boxing lessons.

You don't need any equipment to shadow box; only enough room to do so safely. In fact, if you have a large mirror - or, better yet, a videocam setup, you can watch yourself shadow box. As you do, check your form and stance and correct it as needed to make you an even more fearsome fighter for opponents to face.

Superprof boxing coaches all agree: fighters, even big-name fighters don't shadow box enough. They can cite instances of boxers going off-balance and failing to land a blow because they've lost the ability to stay loose and put some speed behind their punches. They've lost the ability to 'see' the fight - one of the most important skills to learn in shadow boxing.

Don't be that fighter! Learn how to get the most out of your shadow boxing sessions in your private boxing lessons.

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