This is the 4th and final video article in the series covering punch pads. There is a common theme running through the series so if you have yet to do so it is worth going back to the first video Boxing Lessons on the Punch Pads.
In this video I am working with one of our most seasoned and indeed talented boxers. Mark Cameron has amassed consderable experience against really high quality opposition. He is a crisp puncher, packs a terrific bang in each hand and is very smart to go with it.
As a coach I am adept at building boxing lessons and working through them with fighters. With certain fighters though you often feel that the tables have turned and you are in fact the one getting the boxing lessons. This is certainly true of working with Mark, he really is a tremendously committed and classy boxer.
In the previous boxing lessons on punch pads videos I have shown 6 aspects of using the pads that are in play, both from me as the coach and from the boxer I am working with. In this article I'll point out two more. Really though, sometimes it's just nice to watch a quality boxer at work and with Mark I certainly feel that this is true.
Here's the video and then below are the key observations/boxing lessons that I want to point out for you.
Punch Pad Boxing Lessons #7 - Let's Do it Again
I regularly discuss on the site, both on the free videos and certainly within the Boxing Training Foundation, the importance of repetition in learning. Learning how to box is a process of repetition, to get really good we repeat, repeat, repeat.
When using the punch pads, I always like to give the boxer the opportunity to repeat particular punches or boxing combinations. In the case of an experienced boxer like Mark, the aim of this repetition is less to do with learning the moves but more to allow him to 'get into the groove' of the combinations. So, he can throw the punch once, twice and by the third time has had the opportunity to experiment with his form as he thunders along.
This approach for me helps the fighter to be dynamic, that is varying the speed and power of the same shots. Usually the final element of the skills passage or combination are the post powerful and sharp. The boxer has had the opportunity to develop a cumulative improvement in the technique of the punches.
In the video, check out for example 0:41 where Mark hammer's home a long range right hook under my jab. A further demonstration of the benefits of repetition can be seen a few seconds later at around 0:47 where after the long range right hook to the body Mark hammers home the short left hook to the head. There are further examples throughout the video, I'm sure that you get the principle.
Punch Pad Boxing Lessons #8 - Building the Combinations
When working the boxing punch pads, both the boxing trainer and the fighter can build boxing combinations based upon the flow of the shots and skills being used. The word 'flow' is actually very accurate as a description. All great fighters have a definite flow to their work, and certainly when we look to use skills alongside each other we need to identify and use develop that flow.
Before we get into the detail of the combinations that I am working with Mark to build here, it's probably worth covering the subject of communication. Establishing effective communication between the boxing trainer and the boxer when using the punch pads is critical. When using pads, I like to think about using methods at opposite ends of the spectrum:
- The Technical Punch Pad Session - this is where I will spend time with the boxer. We will not necessarily work within the confines of a round structure, that is I won't take much notice of the 2 or 3 minute round/minute rest rule. This is because I am working at a technical level. We are discussing and developing specific skills and tactics so time is irrelevant. It's not about putting the boxer through intense cardio, or hitting anaerobic activity as quickly as possible. For this reason I am able to talk at length to the boxer and combine this with physical demonstrations to reinforce the technical boxing lessons being given.
- The Competitive Punch Pad Session - At the other end of the spectrum from the technical pad session is the competitive session. This is where the boxer is simply put through their paces, hammering away with a focus on intense cardio and resistance work. Boxing combinations are used, but the focus is on intensity. There is no time, or point, in me as the boxing trainer talking at length to the boxer. In need to get my point across quickly and efficiently. It's about communicating enough let the boxer know what I expect from him or her.
The pad work that has been demonstrated through all of the previous 3 video articles in this series, and in this final one, is more toward the 'intense work' end of the spectrum. I need to get the message to Mark quickly and efficiently so as not to interrupt his flow and the intensity of the work with lengthy speeches. What I use is a mix of short verbal commands combined with visual clues using the padded hand. I will demonstrate this as we discuss building boxing combinations.
From the top of my head, I could call out literally hundreds of boxing combinations for the boxer to use. The variations are endless. The beauty of using the punch pads though is that I can enhance this by tailoring the combinations to the boxer and making subtle adjustments that make all the difference at fight time. In real time I can call out the first 2 shots, then add a 3rd and a 4th and combine this with body movement or footwork skills to really bring the combination to life.
The first example I'd like to point out is at around 0:25. You'll see that after Mark has unloaded a few one-twos, I drop my right pad down to the right side of my body. At the same time I say to Mark "Hook there." Two words. Mark knows that after his one two I want him to hammer home a left hook to the body. He duly obliges.
An interesting one is at 1:00. Mark lands with a jab and a right hook to the body. After that, I put my right pad to my face and say "pivot right and right there." OK, that's 5 words, but still not a proper English sentence. Mark understands though that after the jab/right hook body I want him to pivot to his right and land a right cross. Again, the pads and the broken English work well together.
Towards the end of the round (at 2:14), I move into short range, invert my arms and place my right pad to the right of my body and my left pad to the left. At the same time I say "4", or "6" or "8". Mark knows to hammer away with left hooks and right hooks to the body because of the position of the pads, and he knows how many to throw because of the verbal command.
It's important that Mark knows the number of shots to use otherwise I might drop my pad and get that unmistakable level of pain that can only accompany a well placed body shot. When using the pads in this way, I do tense my abdominal muscles to absorb the power of the shots, but without the pad in the way I'd obviously be a quivering, whimpering wreck on the deck. As I say, clear and simple communication is key when building combinations.
Look to the Future
I certainly hope that you have enjoyed and found useful these articles. I certainly had a great time working with the boxers as I always do. I've been coaching for many years now and fully expect to be coaching boxers for many years to come. I look around the Internet at some of the other boxing coaching material out there, some really good, others not so good. MyBoxingCoach.com might not be top of the search listings on Google, but I am very proud that the site and the content of the site appeals to such a wide range of users.
I regularly exchange comments and emails with raw novices fresh into the sport as well as seasoned coaches and boxers. The latter group of people reinforce to me that the material produced is good, solid boxing training and boxing fitness advice. Experienced boxing people do not take kindly to seeing people give out advice on a sport that they know very little about. This is especially important in our sport because dumb advice gets people hurt.
There are lots of posts and articles coming in the future, and I hope that you can continue to find the time and inspiration to maintain your involvement this site. Your continued support and always interesting contributions to the comments on each article are the lifeblood of the site. Long may it continue.
Don't hold back now, let me have your thoughts, views, rants and questions in the comments section below. All are equally well received.