The hook is the most devastating punch in boxing. It travels the shortest distance from the start to endpoint, is quick and explosive, and transfers weight and momentum seamlessly. It’s also very hard to telegraph if executed with enough speed and velocity, and with the right technique.
It’s one of the first punches you learn in the boxing gym when you first take up boxing, and a basic punch that should be in everyone’s arsenal.
But don’t just throw your hooks straight up. Learn to diversify them, make them dynamic, and hard to read. Elite fighters at the higher levels of the sport have the ability to telegraph and anticipate punches. You want your hooks to be complex as much as they are effective.
After you’ve got the hook fundamentals down, it’s time to evolve your technique and try a few hook variations and combinations. The more weapons you have in your repertoire, the more dangerous you become as a boxer-puncher.
Want to take your hook game to the next level? We’ve put together a handful of things you can try in the gym.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five techniques to diversify your hooks.
1) Initiate With The Lead Hook
The lead hook is boxing’s most devastating weapon and its most powerful punch. When used in the correct manner, it’s swift and thunderous, with the ability to score instant knockouts on opponents who don’t see it coming.
If you initiate with the lead hook, your opponents will have a hard time telling when it’s going to come. There’s no set up because it doesn’t require one. It can be thrown on its own because it’s short and compact.
To initiate with the lead hook effectively, however, you will need to employ a consistent jab with the occasional jab feint. This will keep opponents anticipating the jab, and guarding against it. When they least expect it, that’s when you unleash the lead hook which is meant to wrap around your opponent’s glove guard.
The lead hook is capable of doing major damage if landed clean. It’s one of the best punches to have in your playbook.
2) Flash Check Hook
The check hook is another great hook technique that is perhaps even more powerful than the lead hook. The reason for that is because it uses an opponent’s own momentum against him.
With the check hook, you will want to catch your opponents in the middle of their combinations, tagging them with a sledgehammer fired from the hip as they come within range. They will be too busy with their own attack, that oftentimes they neglect to defend against what is essentially a counter hook that comes at the worst possible time.
An opponent’s forward momentum amplifies the damage of the check hook, making it one of the most devastating punches in boxing. This technique has been used greatly by some of boxing’s biggest legends, such as Roy Jones Jr., Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The next time your opponent is coming at you with a furious combination, take a quick step back and unleash the check hook.
3) Double Up Hook
What’s even better than a powerful hook? Well, two powerful hooks, or even more.
Doubling up on the hook is a lost art. But once you’re able to pinpoint its specific rhythm, and learn how you can integrate it into your offense, it’s one of the most effective hooking techniques you can employ.
Ideally, you will want to throw two rapid-fire hooks in immediate succession, going to both the head and the body. Mixing it up increases the probability of landing clean, and also keeps opponents guessing. Throwing hook combinations also gives your opponents more to worry about, as opposed to simply defending against single punches.
Some fighters can even throw three or more hooks with blazing speed. It’s a skill honed tirelessly in the gym. But once you become a natural with it, hooks are a great technique to have in the toolbox.
Finish your combinations off with an uppercut for good measure.
4) Break Through The Guard With The Shovel Hook
Against a pesky glove guard, you need to turn to the shovel hook to break through. The shovel hook is a technique with great power, and a great connection rate due to its unorthodox angle. It’s effectively a cross between a textbook hook and an uppercut, and is thrown at a 45-degree angle.
When defensive opponents bring their guards up, it can become very difficult to penetrate and land clean down the middle. The only way to break through this guard is if you offer your foe different looks. One way to do this is by attacking in angles.
The shovel hook gives you the ability to circumvent your opponent’s defenses by attacking from an off-angle, unorthodox position.
Thrown lower than a normal hook, the shovel hook aims at connecting either square on an opponent’s jaw, or to the solar plexus.
Speed and head movement are two essential ingredients to a great shovel hook. The faster and more explosive the punch is, the more damage it does when it lands. Usually set up with an initial combination to loosen up an opponent’s glove guard, the shovel hook can land with immense force. It’s also a punch that is very hard to telegraph.
5) Counter Hook
Last but not least, the counter hook is a great punch to utilize because it allows you to throw the hook like a check hook, when your opponent is moving forward with his combination. Against a particularly aggressive opponent, you will want to defend against the oncoming attack, but just as he’s pulling back, throw the hook on his way out.
Sometimes they catch it, sometimes they don’t. The trick is to throw the hook in rhythm, so you decrease the chances of getting countered yourself. It’s a low-risk counter that you can throw sporadically.
Hooks are great to counter with because they are short and powerful, and can be thrown on instinct.
The next time your opponent finishes executing his combination, thank him with a nice hook to the temple.
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