Five Common Mistakes To Avoid When You Try Boxing

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There’s no reason to worry about making mistakes when you first try a new sport – everyone was a beginner once, after all. However, the quicker you overcome these mistakes the quicker you get to the fun bits. And when the sport is boxing, you have to try extra hard not to persist with poor pugilistic habits you’ve picked up from boxing fitness classes when you join a proper club.

One like the Rathbone Boxing Club, which is encouraging people to get into the sport with the new Rathbone Amateur Boxing Club (RABC). There are three RABC sessions each week, one for juniors aged 5 to 17 and two for seniors aged 18 to 40, all led by experienced boxing coaches.

It costs £40 a year plus £5 a session to join the RABC (£25 a year and £3 a session for juniors), which is just about as good a fitness deal as we’ve come across in central London.

To make sure you shine in your first session, use these tips from Rathbone Boxing Club’s head coach Greg White.

1. Don’t Throw Arm Punches

“A lot of the time in boxing fitness classes, you’ll throw arm punches and won’t use your legs and rest of your body,” says White.

“To master a strong punch, you need to generate power from your waist, hips and legs. By using your full body, your punches will have more impact and put less stress on your shoulders.”

2. Breathe

“Don’t hold your breath while throwing punches and combos,” says White. “Make sure you exhale through your mouth when you punch, especially for combinations. Focus on making a noise when you breathe so that you know you’re doing it. This will allow you to generate more power and not ‘gas out’ quickly.”

3. Don’t Break Your Stance While Throwing Punches

“This makes a boxer come off-balance and hinders proper boxing technique,” says White.

“Make sure you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, left foot turned to point toward your opponent. Make loose fists and hold your right hand by your chin and left hand in front of your face [reverse if you’re left-handed]. Chin down, eyes up.”

4. Keep Your Hands Up

“People drop their hands away from their face, especially on the return after the punch, which makes the next shot poorly executed,” says White.

“Focus on slowing it down and make sure that after every punch thrown, your hand returns to the face so that the top of the boxing glove is eyebrow level. Don’t throw the next shot until the previous shot has successfully been returned.”

5. Focus On Footwork

“Boxing fitness classes don’t teach any footwork or defences, which are integral parts of the sport of boxing,” says White.

“For anyone trying to improve their skills, I’d recommend paying attention to your feet. Staying light and on your toes, using the back foot to generate power, trying to move around the bag. You don’t want your feet to be glued to the floor.”

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.