Boxing is often referred to as a game of attrition. In the ring, you’re either moving forward or you’re moving backward. In both instances, you utilize your speed, power, agility, cunning, and most especially your reflexes.
It’s important to have great reflexes in this sport, whether it’s having the ability to move your head in mere inches to avoid getting hit or using your quickness to capitalize on rare openings in your opponent’s defense.
Good reflexes allow you to make the most of opportunities presented to you in the ring. All it takes is one perfectly executed punch to turn the tide in any fight and secure victory.
There are many different ways to develop great reflexes and improve reaction time as it pertains to boxing. But we’ve come up with some of the basics you should try. Today, Evolve Daily shares five ways to improve reaction time and reflexes in boxing.
1) Maintain Eye Contact
Keep your eye on the target, or so they say. Your eyes can’t be wandering around, distracted in a fight. Because the moment you break eye contact and look away, that’s the moment you get hit with something you don’t see coming. And it’s those shots that you don’t see coming that do the most damage.
To avoid getting blindsided, never break line of sight, whether you are on the offensive or the defensive end. You don’t have to be looking directly at an opponent’s eyes per se. Focusing on the forehead or chin is good enough. While doing this, you must also maintain awareness through peripheral vision, to protect yourself against attacks from the sides.
2) Stay A Step Ahead Of Your Opponent
Boxing is as much mental as it is physical. As such, there is a tremendous amount of strategy at play in every fight. Fans love to call pugilism a high-level game of human chess, where the slightest mistake presents an opening for an opponent to attack and could mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Thinking one step ahead of your opponent, like in chess, produces great results. It’s sort of like predicting what your opponent will do next. That, however, is in itself not an easy thing to do. You have to be well immersed in the unique ebb and flow of a fight to be able to correctly predict an opponent’s next move.
That being said, strategic plays in the heat of the moment only come through experience. So the more time you have in the ring, the better you’re going to get at developing strategies, and perhaps more importantly, making adjustments on the fly.
3) Defend Yourself At All Times, Protect Yourself At All Times
As the saying goes, you must defend yourself at all times. In boxing, this can’t be more true. To improve your reaction time and reflexes in this sport, you have to constantly make sure your defense is on point. In many cases, your need for fast reflexes is reduced when you exhibit sound fundamental defense.
It’s important to hone your fundamental skills, especially on the defensive end. The more you practice, the more techniques become ingrained into your muscle memory. This helps improve your reaction time and reflexes because you rarely have to actively think about defense. Instead, your body takes over, your head moves by itself and your arms block punches without thought.
But you can only achieve this if you place great importance on fundamental defense. It’s your foundation of defensive techniques which will allow you to manifest your reflexes in the first place.
4) Lay Traps
Laying traps is akin to taking risks, but calculated ones. By laying traps, you’re forcing an opponent to commit a mistake. But not just any mistake, you’re forcing them to commit the mistake that you intended for them to make. By doing this, you are setting up the perfect follow-up.
Of course, laying traps does not come without risk. Every time you bait an opponent with a feint, or by lowering your guard, you run the risk of getting caught. But that’s where reflexes come into play. By laying traps, you are constantly a step ahead of your opponents and can predict what they will do next.
You can practice using your reflexes to get out of harm’s way and execute a well-timed attack. Furthermore, catching opponents in traps leaves them vulnerable to taking a lot of damage, which will be beneficial to you the longer the fight goes.
5) Pull The Trigger
The worst thing you can do is to not take advantage of the openings that present themselves. One telltale sign of a shot fighter is if there is difficulty in “pulling the trigger.” In other words, the opening is there, but you just can’t take advantage of it. That sort of hesitance has no place in the ring. As a fighter, you have to be sharp enough to recognize fleeting opportunities, and fast enough to capitalize on them.
This is mostly honed through sparring, which is one of the most important training mechanisms in boxing. Sparring allows you to become immersed in the unique pace of real fights. In this way, you can practice all aspects of boxing, including footwork, combination punching, defense, ring generalship, and more.
Reflexes can enhance your ability to execute, which is why it’s important to focus on improving reflexes in the gym before you step in the ring.
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