In Boxing, there is the age old question, “Are Punchers born or are they made?”. Some of the greatest coaches and fighters in the history of the sport have disagreed on this matter. Since I have become a Coach and opened my Gym in Athens, GA my opinion on this has slightly altered, as well.
I know that through my own experience of Boxing training in Athens, and in Mexico, that I did certainly learn how to optimize my power. As I became better at the Sweet Science I became more effective at all the tools of the trade. Power is not simply the technique of the punch, it’s also your accuracy. You can be a hard puncher, but if you can’t hit the desired targets in the right way, you won’t produce a very dramatic effect.
There are so many things that go into a power punch, but a very basic technique that is used in all sports with explosive transverse rotations (Baseball, Golf Drive, etc) is pivoting a foot as you rotate. With baseball, you pivot on the ball of the foot and with golf, you go up on the toe. Later, I’ll tell you why and how that applies to power punching in Boxing, but it is important to note that both sports incorporate a form of pivoting on a foot.
Anyone can extend an arm and throw it with a clenched fist at the end, but not anyone can create a clean, sharp and devastating punch. It is something that often has to be honed over many years. I see it all the time with our Gym in Athens, someone comes in and can’t throw a hard punch at all, but with a little practice they start really cracking the Boxing heavy bag. The most basic way to improve a puncher’s power, especially a straight right hand or rear hand punch, is to pivot on their rear foot. This allows the body to twist and puts more weight behind punch. Now, you may ask “why can’t I just launch myself off my back foot, fall forward and produce power that way?”. Well you can certainly see a lot of people with no Boxing training in Athens and around the world do this while hitting a bag and they get away with it. Unlike a heavy bag, a real opponent can move or bob under your punch and the end result, at best, is you lose balance and at worst, you get so out of position you fall down, or even get cracked on your journey to the canvas.
So in order to put our body behind the punch without over compromising ourselves, we must focus on turning our bodies with the straight right/rear hand and to maximize that rotation and allow the hip to rotate without unnecessary stress on the knee, We MUST pivot. If you take weight off the foot, you will fall forward, and making a habit of that can potentially open you up for uppercuts and leave you stumbling around if and when you miss. This is why at our Boxing Gym in Athens GA we ensure that all of our clients learn this art of proper punching technique. Even if you just want to get in awesome shape with Boxing training, it is better for you to learn it the right way because it will actually be a full body workout and not just flinging your arms. It will help you to burn more calories, gain lean muscle in your core and legs as well as create full body conditioning.
To answer the question on why baseball players twist their foot on the ball and golfers twist on their toe, it’s important to think about what each player does after they swing their club. A baseball player sprints from home to the first base, a golfer looks at his shot , walks to the next hole or takes a golf cart to get there. So Boxers just like baseball players have to be able to move after delivering a hard shot, and that means they must make a habit of pivoting on the ball of their foot. Anyone who has done a sport with a lot of agility like basketball or Football knows that to move fast and precise you must move on the balls of your feet, the same goes for Boxing.
So if you’re looking for Boxing training, whether it be for fitness or competition, make sure you practice pivoting on you back foot when you throw a “2”/straight rear hand. You’ll be amazed how much more power this gives you and what a better full body workout it is. Another positive note is that once you start incorporating some basic techniques like this, you’ll really start to look and feel like you know what you’re doing.
The Final Bell
You may be curious what my professional opinion is on “The Age Old Boxing Question” and I’m happy to share it with you now. I first believed that punchers are made and I think this belief helped me become a very hard puncher, but my opinion has slightly changed. I now believe that anyone can improve their power and create harder punches, but their are some people who just naturally produce a crazy hard punch and they are always going to hit a little harder than others. Just like some people run faster or jump higher, you can train to improve it greatly, but some people (Mike Tyson, George Foreman) just got “it”!