The Ultimate in Boxing Lessons
This is the first in a series of video articles in which I work the boxing punch pads. I suppose if we boxing coaches saw ourselves as teachers, then the punch pads are the ultimate in boxing lessons. I say this because working with the punch pads is central to the preparation of any boxer for competition.
Of course I can use pads purely for cardio improvement, but for me by far the most compelling reason to run boxing lessons on the punch pads is for the technical development of the fighter. As Floyd Mayweather says, "Skills pay the bills", and using the pads allows me to develop the skills of the boxer more than any other activity I can run as a boxing coach.
Whilst I will not be going into the fine detail of working boxing lessons on the pads, I will be pointing out in each video the philosophies and techniques that I hold dear. On top of this I will highlight some of the issues that I am getting from the boxer (there is a different boxer working in each video) and the boxing lessons that I am trying to convey. My hope is that there is something here for everyone, be you a coach or a boxer.
One more thing. I am not saying here "This is how everyone should do pads." That is not my style. I am simply laying down what I do and as always I will try to demonstrate the logic of why I do it in that way. Boxing is a game of logic and the best way that I feel a boxer can be educated is by giving them explanations and letting them think through the possible outcomes. After all, it's not me getting into the ring and taking the punches, I am merely the guy who tries to run decent boxing lessons!
Here Starts the Lesson
Onto the first video. In this video I am working with a fine young man named Joe Challinor. An interesting thing about Joe is that he has been in the gym for a little over 18 months, but in that time has squeezed in 15 contests. This is a active fight schedule for any boxer. Whilst it's great that we have managed to keep Joe so active it does have one drawback. Most young boxers who have competed in 15 fights or more are more likely to have been around the gym for maybe 3 or more years.
When making a match for a boxer, we can judge the experience of the opponent in terms of number of fights, but the amount of time spent in the gym is something we cannot know. However, for me it is a very important measure of experience. Young boxers are like sponges, they soak up knowledge at an incredible rate. So, any bouts that we make for Joe are likely to be against boxers with more 'gym experience' and therefore more knowledge. Joe doesn't let this bother him though and he continues to develop at a very impressive rate.
OK, here's the video and afterwards I'll make a few observations:
The Punch Pads Boxing Lessons #1 - Range
What I hope that you notice from the start of the video is that I maintain my boxing stance at all times. But why do this? Why would it matter how I stand, after all it's about the boxer isn't it? Well, one of the massive benefits of using the punch pads is that it replicates a contest situation but in a very controlled way. Most importantly the pads allow the boxer to become familiar with 'ranging' their opponent.
You may have looked at the previously written post on Understanding Range in Boxing. Well, to expand upon that a little, a boxer learns range from a number of factors. Their judgement around their own shots (say for instance a range finding jab) is one key range factor. Another, and for me more important range factor, are the opponent's feet. By me standing in my boxing stance, the boxer can get that feel for where my feet are in relation to him. This is something that cannot be learned using the heavy bag or by shadow boxing.
The Punch Pads Boxing Lessons #2 - Target Location
In a similar vein to the 'range' factor, I think it important that the position I hold the pads are relative to my stance. That is for head shots I hold the pads close to my head and for body shots my hands are in the precise position that the shots should land. This is evident at around 0:50, where Joe is ducking under my jab to fire in a straight back hand to the body. If you want to see more of this then check out the Counter Punching Power - Russian Style article.
Punch pads are effectively the next step up from the heavy bag and the step down from actual sparring. So by making sure that my stance and the position of my pads mimic as closely as possible an actual opponent is for me vital in the boxer gaining the maximum benefits from the session. A further example of this is at around 1:19 where Joe fires in a jab to the head followed by a right uppercut to the body. My left pad is spotted on my solar plexus, the exact spot where a good right uppercut to the body would land.
Any questions, comments or observations on our foray into boxing lessons on the pads will be gratefully received below. If you want to get on to get on and find out about the next 2 lessons for the punch pads, check out the article Boxing Lessons - All in the Stance!