7 Ways to Be More Successful With Your Jab

by Fran on April 6, 2015



This is a video article that is guaranteed to improve your jabbing capabilities.  We all know that the jab is the most effective and useful punch in our locker.  If you can tame an opponent with your jab, control them, pepper them at will, then taking them apart in a systematic way is a very simple next progression.

There are 7 tactics that I have selected to get you started on the path to truly dynamic jabbing.  You should not assume that this is a complete list and you should absolutely search out other tactics that you can adopt.

By the way, make sure that there are no common faults creeping into your jab, in most cases that is the reason why boxers fail with their jab.

Check out the video then review the notes below for some further links that will help.

1. Vary the Speed of the Jab

Changing the speed of your jab is a fantastic way to confuse the defences of an opponent.  Throwing the shot in the correct way but at a slower speed can trigger a reaction in your opponent – maybe an attempt to block, or a lay back.  When you follow that ‘slowed’ jab immediately with a full speed jab, you can increase your chances of landing and of providing a great platform for a follow-up combination.

2.  Vary the Angle of the Jab

By changing the path and therefore the angle that your jab takes to the target is another great way of foiling the defences of your opponent.  Very often when facing an opponent it is very common to become embroiled in a long range jabbing chess match.  You and your opponent can be feinting, testing capabilities, looking for vulnerabilities.  Varying the angle of the jab is a really effective tactic to use in this type of situation. If you are able to think a little differently, and change the angles of attack with your jab then you are increasing the likelihood of your jab landing more frequently.  When you start landing the jab freely then your opponent is more likely to make a mistake, or a rash judgement, and that’s when you can follow up the jab with your bigger shots.  Think about using the long range uppercut and the long range hook to get you started.

3.  Widen Your Stance

Rather than using conventional movement in and out with the jab, we can use a ‘stealth’ tactic to sneak your way into range to land a single jab.  As you launch your jab, push off your back foot whilst keeping it in the same position and allow your front foot to glide forward.  This very simply widens your stance and allows you to increase the range of your jab. This is a smart technique to use.  Top performers, including the likes of Floyd Mayweather, use this tactic.  There is a slight drawback in that because you widen the stance you are restricted to using a single jab.  You could try to use your straight backhand (cross) but you would end up with a reduced range and reduced power.  But look, you’re still landing a really effective jab so that’s got to be a good thing.

4.  The Hip Jab

Caution: When you are in range of an opponent’s punches you really need to keep your hands up and your guard tight.  Experienced fighters have a really precise understanding of their position in relation to their opponent, down to millimetres.  They know at exactly what point their hands need to be up and in the guard position, and at what point they can get away with dropping their hands.  Unless you have a great feel for range then you need to be really careful when using this technique during a contest. Leaving your lead hand dangling down by your hip teases the opponent into leading off with their punches.  You can draw that lead and perform a lay back followed by a jab.  The lay back will take you slightly out of range and you can fire back with your own jab in response.  Be relaxed and be fast when your own shot is going out.  After all, you are taking a risk with this tactic so you need to be getting your pay back.

5. The Jab Block

Whereas the previous tactic is quite high risk, this tactic is a much safer technique to use – it’s also incredibly effective.  Combining a ramrod jab with a block will help in those situations where you and the opponent both throw jabs at the same time – a surprisingly common event. There are 3 things happening at exactly the same time:

  • You throw your jab
  • You use a back hand block
  • You shift your head off the ‘centre line’

This is a nice safe use of the jab.  In fact it’s ultra-safe for 2 reasons:

  • The block defends you from a straight shot coming your way (a jab for example).
  • The act of throwing your jab and shifting your head from the centre-line provides protection from right hands and left hooks.

6. The Tap

It’s really simple this one.  Your jab simply ‘taps’ away, multiple times and with caution, peppering the face of the opponent.  This has the effect of both triggering the opponent into a response and giving you an excellent gauge of range (if your jab is landing then you know that you can unload your back hand).  The key really is using speed and ferocity in your follow-up power shots, this switch from teasing-taps to crunching speed and power is a real fight winner.  To see a fine exponent of this (and indeed a fine exponent of varying he speed of a jab) check out the Roberto Duran Boxing Style Analysis.

7. The Delayed Arrival

The ‘Delayed Arrival’ is a type of feint that can be really effective.  You feint your jab and then immediately throw the actual shot.  This introduces a slight delay and takes advantage of your opponent’s block response to the initial feint.  By the time your jab actually arrives (rather than when the feint ‘would’ have arrived) your opponent’s blocking hand has returned to the start position and bingo, your jab lands.  Clean, simple and effective.

A Final Word

7 tactics designed to improve your jabbing capability and increase your jabbing success.  Once you are landing your jab freely on an opponent then you really are half way to victory.  Practice these tactics alongside your drills, in your shadow boxing, on your heavy bag.  Instil them.  The more you work these tactics the more they will become instinct…and that’s when you really reap the rewards. Comments and questions below please 🙂 Cheers Fran

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob January 17, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Hi Fran

Many thanks for the informative article. It really has furthered my understanding of the jab. A boxer whose jabbing technique I really admired was “Winky” Wright and particularly the way he utilised it in his fight against Felix Trinidad. Keep up the good work.


Fran January 19, 2018 at 9:40 pm

Thanks Bob – brilliant boxer Winky, awesome style and as you say an incredibly effective jab. Always nice to have references like yours to allow people to go off to YouTube and find videos of these guys. Thanks pal.


Simon January 23, 2016 at 9:27 am

my name is Simon;wondering how I can become a member?


Fran January 24, 2016 at 8:38 pm

Hello Simon

Just sign up to the free stuff on the main page.


Alexander August 17, 2015 at 9:23 am

Hi Fran, its a pleasure , reading UR 7 points again, quite clear and defined. Much like U say, not many gyms, or coaches, are teaching anything about the science of jabbing. For them the lead hand is something you wave about, like a feeble fly swatter. And their boxers, bruisers, in general, only lead with the back hand, or might we say head,with no idea of set-up and counter.

But the Lead Jab, is much quicker, shorter distance to travel. And potentially is like the machine gun, or big gun, on the front of a tank, rat-tat-tat or boom-boom, haha. Or as required, like the rapier in the hand of the slick footed skilful bull fighter, classy matador, and boy it can dish out enfilade, ie, from the side, over the top, or under, hook, hook, uppercut.

My last word, I luv when Jeff Mayweather, refers to that Tap Tap Jab U highlight, as the ‘pussy paw’ jab. If U have ever played ‘swing ball’ with a kitten, or cat, U will know what that means. Especially, when their back paw, claws an all, whips in and kills the ball.

Watch Josh Taylor, Scottish boxer, to know what I mean, he is one cool, cruel, jabbing cat. Meeeouw, CU Fran, Alexander.


Fran August 18, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Pussy paw jab hey Alexander 🙂 The jab is indeed an oft-overlooked tool. End of they day, it will never, ever let you down. Never leave home without it.

Josh Taylor BTW, already a big fan. Know that he boxes out of Lochend, a place very dear to your heart 🙂


Toby July 28, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Thanks for this video France, I have been kickboxing for two months and have been sparring for the last month (3 times per week) I am really struggling to get ANY shots on target and that connect nicely, I’m really trying hard but seem to just take many many more shots than I want! I think this video has opened my eyes up slightly as to having different options…. I think once my fear of being hit or getting used to be hit goes that I could actually become quite good at this sport. I am 40 and have loved boxing and kickboxing my whole life but never before had the guts to do it, I’m really enjoying it too, just need to learn how to move. I only found your sight today so am looking forward to tonight’s sparring and see if I have any more luck getting my punches in. Great sight, great instructions and thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Best wishes


Toby July 28, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Fran sorry!!! Bloody predictive typing ☺


Fran July 30, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Hey Toby

Glad you found the site mate. Trick is to focus on the technique of the shot and relax. Do plenty of drilling of the shots and movements away from sparring, each day your tech will improve. Finally, nail a nice simple defence like the double arm block…always helps!

Hope you continue to improve pal. Enjoy and welcome aboard 🙂


Frank Mitchell April 7, 2015 at 11:39 am

Just got my 5th Kyu (Blue Belt) in Shukokai Karate, aged 66. The Grading involved Jiyu Kumite or Free Sparring. Sensei told me beforehand: “Forget about kicks, use your hands only faster”. His advice turned out right, and it works similarly to Boxing. Kicks have their place, but punches are so much faster.


Fran April 7, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Well done Frank. You certainly seem to be flying up that grading system – excellent. AS someone who knows nothing about kicks I’ll take your word for it. Bruce Lee certainly seemed to use a hell of a lot of punches though. Thanks for the comment.


alexander April 7, 2015 at 10:20 am

Hi Fran, spot on with jabs, a master class – can’t beat a jab up the nose – brings water to the eyes – and slows all rushers down. Thank you. alijabjab, alexander


Fran April 7, 2015 at 9:14 pm

Thank you Alexander. Taking a hard jab in a cold gym, now that’s a memory from my youth!


Tommy G April 7, 2015 at 7:29 am

Great article and video Fran, love it. Just a couple of observations: The Tap Jab looks very similar to the flicker jab which Tommy Hearns and others used alot. Only difference maybe is that you fully retract each jab whereas in the flicker jab there isn’t much of a retraction. And then the jab block, This looks like the (outside) slip jab which I try quite alot, plus a block (thanks for the tip, I’ll be using the block part in future). Tyson used to do the Inside Slip Jab alot, I’ve tried doing this myself but can’t because I don’t stand quite square on like Tyson did. Anyway, thanks for all the tips, you’ve given me great new ideas to practice on.


Fran April 7, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Thanks Tommy. Glad that I’ve been able to offer you some new stuff to try out, that’s great.


Dave Waterman April 7, 2015 at 6:36 am

Great article, Fran, I like that.


Fran April 7, 2015 at 9:12 pm

Cheers Mr Waterman.


Sean Tynan April 7, 2015 at 12:18 am

Fran, as Always very helpful. I can put these combos into my toolbox, and that’s the name of the game in boxing isn’t it?


Fran April 7, 2015 at 9:12 pm

Certainly is Sean. Glad it helps and thanks for the comment.


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