The primary objective for sparring is to help the fighter or boxer learn. It’s meant to test and refine your techniques against a partner trying to do the same to you. Sparring is not about beating each other up or fighting for real. It’s about learning how to fight by practice fighting. It’s not a real fight and the goal is not to win.
If you are a beginner, here are some sparring tips for you to survive in the rounds by learning something new and having fun at the same time.
Relax and stay calm
When sparring, you must remain calm throughout the session. Even though you may be getting overwhelmed from not knowing how to deal with the situation, just breathe. Overreacting or irregular movement is a great way to open up your defense to your opponent. It can also be very frustrating for your training partners. Just remember if you hit someone hard they are going to want to hit you back just as hard. Remaining calm will help you conserve energy and become more fluid in your movements.
Find yourself a comfortable boxing stance
Find a boxing stance to feel comfortable. There is no way you will ever be able to move around, let alone fight, if you don’t feel comfortable in your boxing stance.
This is why you need to shadowbox a lot. Spend time by yourself moving around from your boxing stance and make adjustments to your stance and technique. Too many beginners skip shadowboxing and spend time on the heavy bag instead; which distracts them by making them focus on power.
Focus on learning, not winning
Anytime that you focus on winning, it’s almost guaranteed that you will never learn anything new. You will constantly push the pace too hard and always revert back to your old habits instead of practicing new techniques and strategies.
For this not to happen, you must adopt a controlled pace and use that opportunity to try new things. Try new punches and new defensive techniques. Throw a few punches here and there and then move around. Keep moving and keep working.
When in doubt, trade punches
Can’t see your opponent? Can’t keep him off you? Don’t know what to do? Instead of eating punches, just fight. Keep fitting him back. The closer he gets, the harder you must throw. The best way to throw blind punches is to aim for the chest. Start your punches there and then start aiming more towards his head once you know where he is.
Always have a goal
For all beginners, it is always good to have a goal in mind when starting to spar. Having a goal such as checking kicks, using your uppercut, or keeping your hands up is a great way to increase your level of skill. It keeps you focused and even get rid of some of the stress of dealing with an opponent. Talk to your coach and ask what you need to work on while practicing. Then, once the sparring session is over, talk to your coach again and see what mistakes you made and how you could correct them next time.