The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

By November 16, 2022No Comments

How to achieve HIGH PERFORMANCE in Mixed Martial Arts, in LESS TIME, and with FEWER INJURIES!


The 77 Most Common Mistakes in BoxingIf you’re a beginner in Boxing and you’re frustrated with how many times you’re getting punched in the face when you’re sparring; then this is going to save you months and months of aggravation, frustration and turmoil in the gym.

Boxing is so frustrating because it seems so simple- straight left, straight right, hook left, hook right- I mean, I child can do that right?

But there’s so many things to remember, so many details that make the punches more effective, more powerful, and less open for counter punches.

It’s so frustrating because it seems so simple but it’s not easy at all.

I have been teaching Martial Arts professionally since 2004 and I find that my students are making the same mistakes again and again. To me, there is a clear pattern.

There are typical mistakes that virtually everyone makes!

Now imagine knowing all the trouble points before the problem even occurs, it’s like having all the answers to the test before the test is even given to you. It’s the magical cheat sheet with all the answers.

Imagine knowing what typically goes wrong and being able to pre-empt it.

It’s like having a crystal ball where you can already see the mistakes that you’re going to make and you can intercept it, and side step it before it even occurs.

Imagine being able to take control of your own skill development.

Imagine holding in your hands all the pitfalls that many beginners fall into. You’ll now be able to cancel out these typical flaws and supercharge your development.

When you know these common mistakes, you’ll be able to progress faster, become more skilful than ever, all in less time.

It’s like the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Everyone makes mistakes and making mistakes is an inherent part of learning anything new.

Unfortunately, many people feel defeated by their inability to do something correctly.

There are numerous benefits that come from doing something that is challenging and difficult.

Through Boxing and through training Martial Arts, you will attain a high level of confidence and self esteem. By mastering feats of speed, power, and skill that were once seemingly impossible you will attain a higher sense of self belief.

You will achieve self discipline and conquer your physical fears and anxieties.

You will find a positive outlet for your aggression and your stress.

And because of the physical demands of Boxing and sparring, you will develop stronger cardio vascular endurance and muscular strength.

Boxing and Martial Arts have many benefits. Unfortunately, many people quit training right before a major personal breakthrough is about to be made.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing was written to help you stick to your training and to help you achieve your goals.

I sincerely hope that this article helps you in some small way.

BOXING MISTAKE 1- Low Shoulder Position

When people throw a punch, they’ll often leave space between their shoulder and their chin, thus leaving their jaw open as a target for a counter attack.

The proper way to throw a punch, any punch, is to always have your shoulder meet your chin.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing
The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

This is done with your chin down – your chin should always be down normally in your stance – and your shoulder coming up as you throw your punch.

Your shoulder can only come up if your shoulder and your arm are relaxed. If your shoulder is too stiff, not only will this impede the velocity of your punch, it will also make it difficult for your shoulder to pop up to meet your jaw.

As well, punching is like firing a gun.

Imagine firing a rifle, and you’re trying to hit a far away target. How would you hold the rifle? You would probably have the rifle butted up to your shoulder and next to your chin so you could look straight down the barrel of the gun. This is the same idea with throwing punches.

Imagine your jab. You want to see your arm as the barrel of the rifle and you want to look straight down the barrel to ensure the accuracy of your shot. So bring your shoulder up to your chin and you’ll increase the accuracy of your shot as well.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

As well, bring your shoulder up to meet your chin with every punch and you’ll be much more protected from counter attacks.

BOXING MISTAKE 2- Pumping the Jab

A telegraph is a physical signal someone gives right before they are to launch an attack.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

The most common telegraph for the Jab is a quick pulling down of the hand before the punch is launched.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

Launch the Jab directly from where it is. Do not pull down the hand first. Throw the Jab straight out.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

Any indication of what you are going to do will make the punch easier to perceive, and thus counter attack.

When you develop the capacity to execute your Jab directly and non-telegraphically, you’ll find your Jab to be more effective, it’ll land more often and it will be more difficult to counter attack.

BOXING MISTAKE 3- Jab- Elbow Up and Out

Many people lift their elbow up to the side as they throw their Jab. This is a mistake and will make your Jab easier to perceive by your opponent.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing
The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing
The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

Keep your elbow in as you throw your Jab and it will be more difficult for your training partner to see, and thus counter attack.

When your elbow comes up as you throw your Jab it will be easier for your training partner to catch it – it will look like a back hand tennis swing – and then throw a counter right hand after catching it.

As well, it will be easier for your training partner to throw an easy counter attack to your body. Since your elbow is up and out, there will be an open line of attack for the body shot. If you elbow is in as you throw the Jab, at least your training partner will have to go around the elbow and forearm to go for the body shot as the Jab is executed.

When human beings see movement that is lateral, it is easy to see. Like watching two people playing catch. It’s easy to see the ball going from on person to the other person. When movement is linear, it is much harder to perceive. It just looks like the object is getting bigger.

Therefore, human beings have eyes that view things like we are watching TV. When your elbows come up it is easy for your training partner to perceive the motion; however, if you keep your elbows in when you throw the Jab, to your training partner, it just looks like your fist is growing bigger as it is coming straight at him.

BOXING MISTAKE 4 – Jab: Not Protecting the Front of Your Face

The primary target for a counter attack to the Jab is the front of the face. This is because, due to the range, the front of your face is most vulnerable.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing
The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

If the person were to throw a hook or a body shot as a counter, they would have to step in due to the nature of the punch.

Fighting is a numbers game. It is about high percentages.

There is a higher percentage chance of your training partner landing a counter attack to the front of your face than any other target; so, it makes sense to primarily guard the front of your face while still being mindful of his other options in available counter attack targets.

BOXING MISTAKE 5 – Hands Up, But Not Aware

Many people keep their hands up when they are close enough to get hit by their training partner’s attacks. This is good, but many people are not “aware” of their training partner’s attacks or counter attacks.

People think that just because their hands are up they are safe. This is wrong

When someone punches you, it doesn’t matter much if your hands are up or not. Your hand can ricochet back to your face from the force of the punch and it will still hurt.

What I’m addressing is a mental state.

Be mindful of your training partner’s capacity to attack you and to counter attack you. Look to counter attack or re-counter everything he throws at you.

Note that many people actually have their hands down – Mayweather, Roy Jones Jr. – but, because they have an aware mental state, and are seeking the counter attack, they are still safe and are still offensive.

Having your hands up is always safer than having your hands down; however, just because your hands are up, it doesn’t mean you can relax your mind and think that your opponent can not hit you and hurt you. He still can.

BOXING MISTAKE 6 – Jab: Off Balance

Many people launch their Jab by leaning forward and transferring most of their weight onto their lead foot. This is a mistake.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing
The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

The Jab is mostly a probing tool and a weapon used to set up more powerful punches like the straight right. If your weight is too far forward, you’ll lose power for the kill shot that your right hand was intended to be.

As well, because you throw more Jabs than any other punch, the chances of the Jab being counter attacked are very high.

Then, defending the counter attack when you are off balance becomes much more problematic. For example, head movement becomes much harder if more weight is on one foot than the other. Try doing a squat with one leg.

Furthermore, you’ll get tired sooner. That is, if you are consistently leaning forward with the Jab, you’ll have to then push off your lead foot to regain your balance. Doing this again and again will drain you and you’ll become fatigued really quick.

BOXING MISTAKE 7 – Jab: Rotating

Many people rotate their hips and their shoulders when they throw the Jab. This is a mistake. They are rotating only to throw the Jab more emphatically.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing
The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

If you rotate, your training partner will see it easier.

Remember, the jab is primarily a set up tool. If you rotate, it will be harder to launch your right hand because you’ll have to battle the rotational momentum of your Jab to then throw the right hand.

You will also have a hard time throwing many jabs in a row due to the difficulty of the counter rotational force from your shoulders and hips turning.

When you throw your Jab, keep your shoulders and your hips perfectly still.

BOXING MISTAKE 8 – Jab: Too Close

Many people try to throw a Jab in a shorter, mid-range distance. This can be done.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

But the problem exists when people throw a conventional, long range jab; i.e., turning their hand so their pinky finger is up to the sky at the final moment of contact.

This may be appropriate at long range, but may cause injury when done at mid-range.

You will create an awkward “goose neck” position for your wrist and hand. When you make impact the oppositional force will go through your knuckles and blow past your wrist. Since your forearm is not directly behind your fist due to the goose neck position, you’ll most likely hurt your wrist.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

The most that can come of this is hitting your training partner with the “door knocker” knuckles and your jab will look like a cat’s paw swatting at a house fly. This won’t cause too much damage to your opponent and will probably snap your wrist back, causing a sprain.

When you’re Boxing, the proper way to execute a short jab is to keep your elbow in. Keep your elbow in front of your belly button the whole time and keep your fist in a “thumb up” position: make a fist, but if you were to open your hand up, the thumb would point to the sky.

It’s the same position if you were to do push-ups on your knuckles. Note how all the joints are fully supported in this manner; doing a push-up on your knuckles any other way would cause injury.

BOXING MISTAKE 9 – Jab: Always Stepping In

Many people always step in when they launch their jab. This is a mistake. If you can hit him right where you are, then just hit him.

Many people practice throwing the jab with a mandatory step forward thinking they need to increase power.

Or they have a misreading of their range: they will always step in with their jab regardless of how far away their training partner is.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

If you are in range to land the jab without stepping in and you step in, you will stifle the development of force for your Jab.

Force is mass multiplied by acceleration. Acceleration is distance and time. The less distance you have the less acceleration you’ll have. And thus, the less acceleration, the less force you’ll have.

For example, sprint for 10 meters. Then sprint for 50 meters. You’ll be running faster at 50 meters.

It’s the same with your jab: throw a jab at a target 6 inches away and throw a jab at a target 60 inches away. You’ll feel the difference in the force generation immediately.

As well, because you are stepping in, you will wind up throwing a long range jab within a short range distance, this will cause your wrist to goose neck and you’ll most likely sprain your wrist.

BOXING MISTAKE 10 – Low Jab: Not Dropping Your Hips

In Boxing, throwing a low Jab to the body is a fantastic attack. The body is often an unprotected target and throwing a Low Jab to the body is a great, low risk way to set up further attacks to the head.

The problem occurs when people execute the low Jab without first dropping their hips.

The Low Jab is a straight punch and, like all straight punches, it is like firing a rifle. For a greater degree of accuracy, the rifle needs to be butted up against your chin and shoulder.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing
The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

As well, the Jab will be more forceful. If you launch a Low Jab without dropping your hips, the fist will land at a downward angle and it will wind up as a glancing blow. The force will not go directly into his abdomen.

And lastly, you will be open for the counter right hand.

Your Jab going to the body invariably forces you to drop your left hand, thus opening up a direct line of attack for his straight right. Drop your hips, bury your chin into your shoulder and you’ll be safer from his counter right.

MISTAKE 11 – Low Jab: Not Protecting Your Chin

When you go for a low Jab, you will always be open to a counter attack from above. Most typically, the counter will come in the form of an overhand right.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

You need to be mindful of your training partner’s ability to counter attack you at anytime.

The 77 Most Common Mistakes in Boxing

Wrongly, many people launch the low left Jab with their right hand drifting away from them. They’ll do this to generate more power.  And they’re simply unaware of their hand placement and don’t know any better.

The best thing to do when launching the low Jab is to put the knuckles of your right hand against your left jaw line.

Some people put their right hand on their right ear or temple. However, it is too awkward from this position to catch your opponent’s most obvious counter attack, his overhand right.

Or sometimes people will put their right hand against their left temple. This is done because they are intimidated by their training partner’s right hand. Unfortunately, this way, it is nearly impossible to see anything that is coming at you. You are practically covering your eyes.

Again, the best practice is to have the knuckles of your right hand against your left chin.

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Ritchie Yip

Ritchie Yip

Ritchie Yip is the Head Instructor for InFighting Training Centers located in Downtown Vancouver and Brentwood Burnaby. InFighting Training Centers offers programs in Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bootcamp Conditioning Classes and Personal Training

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Ritchie Yip

Ritchie Yip is a life long martial artist, BJJ Black Belt, and the head instructor of the InFighting Martial Arts Gym in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

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