We All Need a Pat on the Back Sometime

by Fran on April 3, 2012

It’s been over 2 years since I founded the MyBoxingCoach website.  Since then I have made great strides toward where I want the site to be.  But, like most things in life (boxing included), it can get quite tough even though it’s been a tremendously satisfying experience.  To help me through these tough phases it’s often the simple things that help.  I have always found that people respond very favourably to a pat on the back, and I guess I’m no different.

I received a comment on the site today.  Let’s just say that this comment given me a great lift and will help me to drive on to achieve the major plans I have for the follow up learning resources to the Boxing Training Foundation.  Positive feedback is great and I always look forward to opening the contributions of the site users.  Positive feedback from someone who’s whole life is about getting a message across is especially rewarding.

Here’s the comment:

To any potential readers/buyers, http://www.myboxingcoach.com – is the best website for learning the basics of boxing that I have found on the Internet. It has no macho character showing off their muscles rather than teaching. It has no ridiculously difficult moves when a beginner should be instilling the basics in their bodies. It is a well-thought-out, clear and intelligent system.

Here is the core secret about learning boxing – there is no universal method to teaching the sport. Modern boxing arose from a Celtic-Anglo/Saxon background, but has now been adopted by everyone from the Latin American fighters to the Philippines to Africa to the great former-Soviet sporting empires. Every culture and country has put its own style on boxing, consequently, unlike the Asian martial arts, no one has broken down the sport to teach it in a systematic way. No one, that is, until now. Fran Sands has produced the ‘Suzuki method’ of teaching boxing. He shows the very basics of the sport – movement, jabs, crosses, hooks, blocks, parries, pivots, etc – in simple, clear lessons. Then he has developed a series of movement drills, roughly equivalent to the katas of Karate, that a beginner can learn by themselves, but are invaluable in learning the basics of boxing.

Do you need anyone or anything aside from Fran Sands’ boxing course? Of course. A good coach is invaluable, but if that is unavailable to you or you need additional coaching, I can think of no better course than MyBoxingCoach.com

My story. I do not know Fran Sands. We have never met nor even corresponded. I am a Canadian author and journalist specializing in organized crime and football (www.declanhill.com). A few months ago I was asked to take part in a ‘white-collar’ bout to raise money for a cancer charity. I had worked out at a very good boxing gym for a number of years, even sparring on occasion. But the event was a quantum leap in intensity. (Imagine the difference between playing football in the park with pals and suddenly playing for a regional select team.) Adding to the pressure, two of the other boxers in the event were well-known politicians and many of my media colleagues were attending the fight (it ended up being broadcast nationally live on television, which is a lot of stress for a first fight).

I had six-weeks to train (for administrative reasons, the other fighters had had four to five months). I needed to raise my game. So I did two things: I went to Cuba and I signed up for the Boxing Training Foundation. In Cuba, I put myself through an intense daily training camp – cardio in the morning, breakfast, 2-hours of sparring with a Cuban national champion in Chinese boxing, lunch, siesta, 1.5 hours of ‘boxing school homework’, weights, dinner and bed. In between practice sessions, I watched and read everything that was on Fran Sands’ site. In the hotel, myself and the Cuban waiters and kitchen staff would sit around watching Fran’s instructions and drills.

In the end, thanks to my Canadian coaches, the Cubans and Fran Sands’s MyBoxingCoach.com and the Boxing Training Foundation, I managed a narrow win. However, I feel a great debt to Fran and so I heartily recommend his site to anyone starting out in the sport.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Declan Hill April 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm

This is great, Fran. Thank you. Good specific ideas that I can work on during the next few weeks. The key is getting it into my muscle memory so that even in the stress of a fight, the technique is still there.

Thank you also for your kind contribution to the cancer charity. You are a top man, Fran!



Fran April 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Thanks Declan, glad it helped and you’re very welcome.


Declan Hill April 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Hi Fran,

Just seen the video of my fight. Posting it here, for yourself or any other more experienced fighters on the site. Love to hear any suggestions, thoughts and improvements in my technique. For example, I found I could hit quickly but seemed to have to sacrifice power for speed, any good exercises for that problem?


Thanks again for a great site!



Fran April 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm


Having watched the video, I can’t fail to be impressed by the way both yourself and Jeff acquitted yourselves here. A great performance from each of you and it had me enthralled from start to finish. Given the cause in which you guys were working I very much consider the quality of the contest to be a demonstration of your commitment and hard work. You have both led by example.

Onto the technical bits then and firstly the host of positives for you. You maintained your discipline and composure throughout, even through some quite intense periods of fighting ‘in the trenches.’ This belies your level of experience. You also had the wherewithal to listen closely to your corner man, also evidence of the being fit enough to notice your recovery rate improving. Your fitness was really good.

I really like the angles of your long range shots. You combined jabs with long range left hooks, and your straight backhand with long range right hooks. This really improves your chances of increasing your punching success rate. Make sure you keep this in your style, very effective.

You looked to dominate and land first throughout the contest. Even when retreating in the first round you continued to throw shots. A really good fighting retreat against a short, powerful opponent. You made Jeff work hard for every step taken forward and boxing judges recognise this, particularly in the amateur ring. I’m sure Jeff noticed this too.

Let’s just cover the speed thing. You have to remember that speed will improve over time. When I work with boxers, say on the bags, I will often say for a round ‘think about speed over power’. They will punch faster but will not get as much mass behind the punch. This is perfectly natural. The theory is that over time the two will blend, the right technique (which provides the ‘mass’) will be executed more quickly over time. Of course there are other aspects to developing speed, some of which are covered in the ‘improve hand speed’ article.

OK, some things to maybe think about.

You have a little habit on occasion of leaning in behind your jab. Your body travels with the punch rather than throwing it. If you combine your foot movement with the jab then there’s no need to lean in.

When you were under that spell of pressure in the third, your arms were flailing a little in the confusion. Next time, think about using the double arm block combined with some slips, ducks and rolls, all the time keeping your eye on what’s coming.

Finally, when punching to the body look to duck. Do this especially at long range and especially against a shorter opponent.

Just little things mate, but no big deal because you look to be coming along just fine.

I hope that you both enjoyed your post-fight tipple, it was very well deserved.

Cheers Declan


fity April 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Well deserved praise for your efforts,sir.


Fran April 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Thank you


glyn evans April 7, 2012 at 8:44 am

great words declan and i must admit you can get lost amongst the todays boxing resources that are available via the internet i have been involved in boxing in some shape or form for 20 odd years and i have to say fran sands is the man when it comes to breaking down the sweet science his tutorials are put together in laymans terms .
i know we have the great freddy roaches able to view online and also fantastic Naazim Richardson .
but we also have fran sands who in my eyes is up there with the great trainers of our lovely sport KEEP UP GREAT WORK FRAN


Fran April 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Thank you Glyn. You’ve certainly placed me in exalted company there. I think that the reason people get full use of the site is that I’ve managed to convey on line a similar approach that people like us deliver in the gym. That is, the object is to teach, to educate, rather than to have a ‘look at me’ approach. Just happy that all who are involved in the site seem to keep coming back and finding new stuff, that’;s great as far as I’m concerned. Thanks Glyn.


Fran April 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Cheers Paul. This site seems to be building up quite a Canadian contingent. Long may it continue!


Karl April 6, 2012 at 3:43 am

BTW – speaking of ‘true amateur’ Canadian boxing, I must share this cringe worthy video from my countrymen…


Two of our politicians slugging it out for charity. haha, funny stuff to watch, but also a great cause. Both fighters lost a parent to cancer and this event is a fund raiser for research into a cure.


Fran April 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Now, I could really see people tuning in for a weekly House of Commons dust-up like that. They guy in blue has half decent feet actually, but just gets a little erm, excited. The guy in red really likes his jab as well.

This did make the news over here actually in one of the national newspapers. You’re right though, good cause indeed.


Karl April 6, 2012 at 3:34 am

A well deserved pat on the back Fran. I constantly look for boxing info on the internet, your site is one of (if not THE) best out there.


Fran April 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Thanks Karl, that means a lot.


Fran April 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Thanks again Declan.

I think that the tip on the lorry tyres. You even included a currency conversion for me 🙂

I think the boxing gym could spare space with two or three tyres. I’ve seen the Cubans use that method, along with a host of simple, cheap yet brilliantly effective activities. The uninitiated underestimate the importance of the legs in boxing, so I can see exactly why the tyres will fit in perfectly.

Cheers Declan


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