Boxing Training

35 Boxing Sparring Tips for Beginners

If you want to become a complete fighter, sparring is one of the most important things you can do.

It is undoubtedly the most effective technique of training to develop your boxing. I advise that all boxers, not just those interested in competing in fights in the future, spar regularly to keep their abilities razor-sharp. However, the sparring portion of our courses might be very scary for someone just starting in boxing.

When you watch two men who are roughly the same size, have comparable experience, and are both training to compete, the intensity can be very frightening to watch. It is tough to discern between a rigorous sparring session and an actual fight.

"Holy motherf***er! Could that be blood?! They are actively attempting to take each other's lives".

On the other hand, sparring begins at a different level, which may never reach that level for you. It all depends on whether or not you plan ever to compete.

When it comes to sparring, something bothers you to the point where you can't get comfortable with it. It could be the thought of getting hit, the level of physical fitness necessary, or how complicated it appears.

I have taxed my brain to come up with these 34 boxing sparring tips for beginners to help you overcome any worries and successfully traverse the minefield that is sparring (and a couple for the pros).

Some of them are just common sense (which can vanish in an instant when you are hit), others were taught to me by others, and some were lessons I had to learn the hard way. The following recommendations cover a wide range of topics, from proper conduct while sparring to suggestions for improving overall performance. Enjoy.

1. Sparring Games

Why not ease into the competition by starting with something more suitable for beginners? Then, if you want to make the transition into the ring more easily, give one of these styles of sparring a shot.

If you are only allowed to deliver jabs, there is far less that you need to focus on.

Boxing with the restriction that you can deliver punches from the shoulders down to the waist is known as body boxing.

It would help if you used slapping instead of punching in this situation. It's okay to use a little force when playing slaps; only a light touch will do.

The game Burpee Tag is a good way to have fun while simultaneously getting a good workout done. The goal of the burpee tag exercise is to contact your partner's knee or shoulder while they are attempting to do the same thing to you. You are free to avoid strikes and defend yourself by evading your opponent's hand. When you score a point, your teammate is responsible for performing one burpee. It is a game that requires talent and fast reflexes, but it's also a lot of fun to play.

2. Touch Gloves

Make sure you touch your gloves at the start and finish of each round.

You and your partner should contact gloves at the beginning of each round and at its conclusion. It is more of an etiquette guideline for sparring than a suggestion, but following it can help you maintain cordial relationships with your training partners.

It is done to signal to your partner that you are ready to spar and close out each round and express gratitude if you are rotating partners for your sparring. In addition, when gloves are touched, it serves as a reminder to everyone that the purpose of the activity is not to knock your partner out and have a nice sparring session.

3. Hit As Hard As You Get Hit

You can easily adjust the difficulty level of a sparring session by matching the power of the person you are sparring with. Put another way. It would be best if you gave as good as you are getting.

It is a great rule of thumb that guarantees you are on equal footing with everyone else in your sparring session; moreover, it can take some work to put into practice for novices. You can be utterly oblivious to the force with which you are hitting, or you might just get carried away at the moment.

If you suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of a vicious punch, take it as a sign that your training partner is trying to keep you in control. Recognise the little indication, and dial back the intensity by one level.

4. Relax The Power, Practice Technique

It is not the point of sparring to beat the other person up. Instead, you can test what you've learned in a real-life combat scenario.

If your only goal is to knock the other guy's head off, your technique will suffer, and sooner or later, someone stronger and/or more skilled than you will put you in your place.

The intensity of a decent sparring session should be around 70% of full power.

5. Try Different Combinations

It is very simple to get yourself up into a panic when you first start sparring. The amount of information available is completely overwhelming. You are condensing several months' worth of practice into a two-minute round in which you aim to hit a moving target while simultaneously avoiding being hit yourself.

In this scenario, it is simple to put oneself into autopilot mode and keep cycling through the same familiar combinations.

Nevertheless, if you want to get better (and keep your opponent guessing), you need to change the combinations you use. For example, if you took tip number four's advice and reduced the intensity level, you should be bold and try something completely different.

Man Punching Bag

6. Light And Fast

It is helpful to focus solely on improving one's quickness and reflexes from time to time rather than their power level. When you engage in light and fast sparring, there is less of a chance that you will be hit with a haymaker, which enables you to practice techniques at breakneck rates.

Some people contend that tippy-tappy sparring serves no purpose and that you would never fight in such a manner, whether in the ring or on the street. But on the other hand, it improves your speed and agility and your ability to attack and defend yourself, all aspects of your overall fighting game.

Learning how to spar effectively is also a wonderful activity for novices.

7. Slow Motion Sparring

Sparring in a Matrix-style and using slow motion might improve your performance.

It is especially useful for novices because it buys them time to think about the punch coming at them and decide which of their recently acquired defensive techniques to use. So don't be afraid to give it a shot because it is effective despite how strange it can seem.

Because it is so successful, Johnny from Expert boxing has designated it his unique method of fight preparation.

8. 16oz Gloves Minimum

It is not so much of a suggestion as a strict regulation that must be followed when duelling. As far as I am concerned, anyway.

When you spar with gloves that weigh less than 16 ounces, you jeopardise the safety of your training partners. In addition, it could lead to an accident. Therefore, gloves with a weight of 12-14 ounces are used for training, whereas gloves with a weight of 16 ounces or more are used for sparring.

Better if you get actual sparring gloves, they will include gentle padding designed to cushion the impact of strikes. It will keep your hands safe while you train.

Check out our buyer's guide to boxing gloves if you have trouble picking which pair to purchase if you plan on getting into the sport.

9. Keep Your Stance

Relax your muscles while keeping a tight and correct stance (chin tucked, eyes looking forward, hands up, elbows in, and toes pointed towards your partner), but always keep your chin tucked and your eyes looking forward.

The secret to maintaining your form even when you're completely spent is to ease off the tension in your posture.

10. Never Drop Your Hands

Never let go of your hands, regardless of how exhausted you are!

Even though it's just a drill, you must treat it as seriously as if it were a real match. When you let your guard down while sparring, you can't expect your partner not to take advantage of the situation and hit you in the nose if you make that mistake.

That is exactly what would take place amid a brawl. If the fight does not take place in the ring, there is no respite, no sympathy, and there is a chance that it will not even be a fair fight.

Develop the practice of remaining vigilant even when you are feeling weary.

Make sure you are safe from your spouse before giving them a swift shake if you cannot keep your hands raised any longer and feel the need to do so.

11. Don’t Look Away

Your next goal should be to make it a habit never to take your eyes off your opponent when they are fighting during a round.

It makes perfect logic, and it stands to reason that only a moron would act in such a foolish manner, right? You might be shocked at how simple it is to lose concentration momentarily.

You'll discover that when you're exhausted, you'll find yourself staring at the round timer, looking at your coach when he's barking directions at you, or pausing to chat to your friend when he's asking if you want a trip home. All of these things are bad habits.

A momentary break in concentration is required to bring the sparring practice to an abrupt end with a bloody nose. Maintain your concentration and put a stop to any distractions. If you have to, yell out acknowledgments, but try not to take your eyes off your opponent.

12. Watch The Chest

Where exactly should you be focusing your gaze, then?

The chest of your lover is the most important area to concentrate on. Do not look at their eyes or gloves because doing so may throw off your concentration and cause you to lose the game.

Your opponent's general motions and shoulder rotations will become more visible to you if you concentrate on the chest as the blow develops.

Additionally, it will lead you to instinctively keep your chin tucked in, which is one of the six foundations that make up a rock-solid stance.

Amateur Boxing

13. Fight Longer Rounds With Less Rest

If you're getting ready for a competition, you should prepare for longer rounds than the actual battle. For instance, if you're going to be boxing in two-minute rounds with one-minute breaks in between, you should set the timer for three minutes and give yourself 30 seconds of rest between each round when you're sparring. Then, two-minute rounds will feel like a walk in the park on fight night, and you'll be ready to go after just one minute of respite.

This advice will do wonders for your physical fitness, even if you do not have any immediate plans to engage in combat.

14. Don’t Apologise

You don't need to apologise to the person you punched in the face.

There is nothing more aggravating than a boxer apologising each time he smacks you in the face, and that person does it repeatedly.

While good manners are necessary, you can be more courteous in the ring.

We are engaging in sparring; if someone wasn't getting struck, either:

  1. We were being cowards about it out of fear of retribution.
  2. We were both weary and throwing sloppy punches.
  3. We were practising fundamentally flawed techniques.

If the answer (C) describes your situation, you should get a boxing coach as soon as possible. Answer (A) is unacceptable if you want to be a fighter, but the answer (B) happens to the best of us.

Therefore, you shouldn't apologise unless you mistakenly went too low on a punch, in which case you should. It makes no sense to apologise for successfully doing what you have been training for, and doing so irritates the people around you.

15. Hard Sparring

Although using 70% of full strength makes for a good sparring match, there comes a moment when severe sparring is important, such as when you're practising for a fight. So, for example, using 70% of full force makes for a good sparring match.

You will be better prepared for real combat scenarios if you turn the intensity to 90% or even 100% of its maximum level.

The use of common sense ought to win out. When engaging in hard sparring, you should always wear your headgear, insert your gum shield, and do it in a ring while supervised, if at all feasible. You want to avoid running the risk of colliding with other fighters or gym equipment.

16. Don’t Go In For The Kill

If you land a strong shot and your teammates look rocked. As a result, you should pause the attack and give them time to recover. Do not attempt to finish off the victim. It is not a fair fight at all. It would be best to give them time to recuperate before proceeding.

However, genuine fights aren't fought in such a gentlemanly manner, and if your partner fights coming up, you could feel the need to follow up after a strong blow to simulate the conditions of a real fight.

You will know when it is necessary to stop or if it is safe to continue based on your level of experience and common sense.

17. Don’t Make Excuses

Nobody wants to hear that you are worn out, ill, hurt, haven't eaten enough, or didn't sleep well the night before. No one wants to hear any of those things. So you shouldn't come to the sparring if it's that horrible. Period.

Every once in a while, we will experience a nagging pain or a less-than-ideal day. It is a weak defence to cite them as an excuse for bad performance. When you complain about problems you're having, all it accomplishes is to make you look like a baby and frustrate the others who have to listen to your nonsense. There is no benefit to complaining.

Do not moan, whine, or even think about the difficulties you are experiencing, no matter how horrible you feel. Also, never explain poor performance, as this is the most significant point.

Take a stoic approach to cope with your problems, grit your teeth, and push through it.

18. Train Like You’re Fighting

It would be best if you didn't go into your sparring sessions thinking it's a real fight since that's a surefire way to end up with an injury.

No, I mean that you should adopt the same strategies and work ethic you would have in a fight when you are training. It will help you improve your performance.

During your training, you should make it a point to form positive habits such as keeping your guard up, facing your partner, and remaining concentrated. It will allow you to perform these actions instinctively once you enter the ring.

In addition to this, you want to maintain a high work rate. Try to string together more combos or keep the pressure on your opponent even when you're at your physical and mental breaking point by doing both.

You will be completely ready for fight night if you practice as though you are going to fight and live by the slogan "train hard, fight easy".

19. Don’t Fight Dirty

Remember never to engage in dirty fighting if you're new to boxing. It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway. You don't want to fall to that level, so keep it clean and fight fairly. It is important not simply because you're working out with other people at the gym.

It implies that you are not allowed to attempt to land a haymaker after the gloves have been touched, you are not allowed to take cheap swings after releasing from the clinch, and you are required to follow the rules of boxing.

20. Don’t Release The Hulk

Nobody likes getting hit. In most cases, it results in either astonishment or fury as a response. You must, however, keep the anger monster within its cage while engaging in sparring.

It's important to understand early on, even if you're a youngster on the fighting scene. There will be occasions when you're going to get punched in the face. So shrug it off, don't let your feelings get the best of you, and stay calm while you spar with your opponent.

21. Don’t Fear Getting Punched

You can't avoid being struck, can you? Acquire an absence of dread of it.

Now, this is a challenge for those who are just starting. However, it is in our nature to avoid experiencing pain and be apprehensive about anything that might do so in the future.

When we sense a punch coming, our instinct is to cringe. However, if you are a boxer, your natural reaction will be to duck, block, or counter the hit. It is important to be aware that getting punched is a virtually guaranteed outcome in boxing.

Do not shrink away from punches, although it is exceedingly tough and doing so goes against your natural inclinations. Instead, accept the fact that it will take place and even make an effort to take pleasure in the jolt of adrenaline that comes with being struck.

After a few, you'll realise that you're not made of glass and that it doesn't hurt quite as much as you were anticipating it would.

22. Show No Pain

Never let on that a strong blow has rattled you by any means necessary. If this were a real fight, displaying any sign of weakness gives your opponent the go-ahead to try to knock you out.

Most key, continue moving even when you've been hit. There is no "time-out", so continue swinging until you hear the buzzer, and then evaluate how much damage you've done.

It is not appropriate to call a time-out in the middle of a round unless the discomfort is intolerable. If you have to pause in the middle of a round but then prove that you are alright a minute later, you will lose respect.

When a fighter takes a heavy hit, they may recognise it by keeping their poker face, offering a slight nod, or smiling. But, unfortunately, the final one causes great confusion for your rival.

23. Target The Head And Body

When beginning martial artists spar, they frequently concentrate their attention on their opponent's head. On the other hand, body shots are excellent at wearing down your opponent and are more than capable of winning a fight on their own. Therefore, when you're sparring, you should work on your body shots and mix up your combos to hit the head and the body.

24. Always Wear Your Gum Shield

When practising sparring, wearing headgear or a cup is only sometimes necessary, but you must practice with your gum barrier. You will be in a world of hurt if you have teeth that are chipped or missing, and if your nerve endings are affected, dental work is not inexpensive.

In the heat of the moment, it is easy to forget promises to keep things lighthearted and humorous. Avoid giving the impression that you are a toothless hillbilly. If you don't have a gum shield, you can maintain your fighting skills by using light and tight body boxing instead.

25. Stop When You’re Bleeding

It is neither cool nor masculine in any way to continue sparring, although you are covered in blood all over the gym. It is horrible to look at and incredibly unsanitary!

You might be able to finish the round even if the blood flow is severe, but that will depend on how much blood there is. However, following that, you should quickly treat your battle wounds out of respect for your sparring partner, your gym, and the individual responsible for cleaning the floors in the gym.

26. Remember Your Manners

A friendship developed through boxing or wrestling.

At the end of the sparring session, you should always thank your partner for their time and effort and for being there to trade blows with you. It is an appropriate way to acknowledge their skills. When the bell for the final round rings, it is not out of place for competitors to give each other a fist bump or even a man hug.

When two or more combatants emerge unscathed after a gruelling round of sparring, they develop a unique connection of respect and camaraderie. Even though they had never met before, they had developed a mutual respect for one another due to this transformation.

Take the time to express gratitude and discuss how the rounds went, the techniques employed, previous experience, or forthcoming battles. You can establish a friendship and ensure that you always have a sparring partner.

27. Don’t Forget To Breathe

A rapid loss of oxygen can result from breathing incorrectly. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are breathing even when moving, throwing, and getting struck. It can be a partial or particularly in-depth breath. However, it is sufficient to let out a quick, forceful breath whenever you complete an action.

When you take a punch, you force the air out of your lungs to swiftly tense your muscles and prevent yourself from being breathless. Likewise, if you exhale as you punch, you will prevent yourself from being exhausted due to a counterpunch.

In many cases, breathing is accompanied by a brief hissing noise that resembles the sound "eeesshh".

Punching Bag

28. Relax

The act of sparring can be an anxious experience. Not only are you striving to put what you've studied into practice to strike a moving target, but that target is also making an effort to hit you. Because of this, beginners frequently find their muscles in constant tension, resulting in cramping and fatigued arms in a relatively short time.

The trick is to remain relaxed until just before you take a shot or throw, at which point you should immediately begin to stiffen up.

It is possible that, at first, it will feel foreign to you, but the more you train to become accustomed to the conditions of a fight, the better your performance will be.

29. Keep Moving

Maintaining your hectic schedule might make you a more challenging target for potential attackers. Develop your ability to surprise your opponents.

You don't need to use unnecessary energy and run around like a crazy person. However, to keep your partner guessing, you need a basic bob, weave, and a few fakes sprinkled here and there.

If you stay still, your teammate will be able to take their time picking their shots, and they may even assume that you are exhausted and go for the kill if they see that you are standing still.

30. Circle Away From The Power

It would be best if you tried to go in the opposite direction of the power hand that your opponent is holding.

For instance, if you find out that your partner has a powerful left hook, you should continue to circle to the left so that the left hook won't have as much strength when thrown at you. Conversely, if you step to the right, you will be stepping into the path of the punch, which will be quite forceful. To avoid drawing attention to yourself, though, make sure to switch gears every so often.

Please note that the next three pieces of advice are intended for more experienced players. However, you should still read them even if you have never engaged in sparring before because there will come a moment when they will be relevant to you.

31. Focus On Winning (advanced)

When you are just starting, you should be fine with getting the best of someone when you are fighting. Instead, it would be best to focus on perfecting your technique and finding ways to relax.

However, those who have more experience or are preparing for a fight should go into each round of sparring with the mindset that they will win. As you continually try to hit more punches, this will keep your work rate high and motivated.

The influence it has on your mental mentality is, however, its most significant advantage. It gives you a boost of self-assurance, and after you've been successful in the majority of your rounds of sparring, you know you're prepared to engage in a real battle.

You should continue to train your mind to anticipate victory and bring this upbeat mindset into the ring with you.

32. Don’t Beat-Up Beginners (advanced)

Resist the urge to take advantage of someone just starting in the ring, no matter how satisfying it may feel to possess someone there.

When sparring with novices, you should give them room to throw punches and become used to the ring environment.

You'll know firsthand the bewilderment and worry that comes with being the new man because everyone has, at some point, being the new guy. The first few sparring sessions are always the most nerve-wracking. Be careful not to wipe out the following combatants by being too harsh.

The occasional jab or little combo is all needed to bring their attention back to maintaining their defences.

The only exception to this rule is if the new guy is a dick, and despite receiving numerous warnings to lower the intensity, he still finds that he can't stick to 70% power. In this case, you will break the rule. In this scenario, "educating" him by giving him two black eyes and reestablishing his place in the food chain is vital.

33. Take The Time To Teach (advanced)

Even though you might not be able to fathom it right now, there will come a time when aspiring boxers will be ravenous for your knowledge. So please impart some of your knowledge and be willing to offer suggestions.

If you offer your knowledge when people ask for it, you won't come across as someone who thinks they already know everything. On the contrary, people are grateful for the assistance that is both genuine and helpful.

If someone asks for advice on their sparring or wonders how to keep catching them, take the time to show it to them if you have the opportunity.

34. Situational Sparring (advanced)

When you engage in situational sparring, you focus on improving the aspects of your fighting game with which you are having the most trouble. To become a well-rounded fighter, you must recognise your flaws and hope to improve. For example, if you have a too-slow jab, rather than avoiding jabbing altogether, you should try to improve it by throwing nothing but jabs for the entirety of a round. Alternately, if you tend to freeze up when you are pushed into the corner, you should perform drills in which you begin the exercise in the corner, and the goal is to fight your way out and take control of the ring centre.

35. Getting Good Takes Time

In closing, I would like to provide some time-tested guidance that was given to me by my trainer. When I would get angry over being beaten up by him (and countless others), he would remind me of the following things:

"Before you can become the hammer, you must spend significant time acting as the nail".

Boxing is a sport that requires a significant investment of time and effort to achieve any level of proficiency. When you initially begin, you are going to be bullied and humiliated. So said, this is how things operate.

But don't let that discourage you; if you keep showing up and improving on your combat game, there will eventually come a day when it will be your turn to swing the hammer.

I hope you've found these boxing sparring suggestions helpful and, more importantly, that you've been able to put at least some of them into practice.

Can boxing sparring help improve my overall fitness?

Yes, boxing sparring can significantly improve your overall fitness. It is an intense cardiovascular workout that enhances endurance, strength, agility, and coordination. The constant movement, combination drills, and defensive maneuvers involved in sparring build muscle tone, burn calories, and improve overall physical conditioning.

Should I spar with more experienced boxers as a beginner?

While it can be beneficial to spar with more experienced boxers to challenge yourself and learn from their skills, it's crucial to prioritize safety and progression. Initially, focus on sparring with individuals who have a similar skill level to ensure a controlled and balanced learning environment. As you gain more experience and confidence, gradually incorporate sparring with more experienced boxers under the guidance of your coach.

What should I focus on during boxing sparring as a beginner?

As a beginner, focusing on fundamental techniques and skills during boxing sparring is important. Pay attention to maintaining a proper stance, practising defensive maneuvers, and working on your jab and basic combinations. Use sparring sessions to improve your footwork, timing, and understanding of distance control.

How often should novice boxers spar?

Beginners' boxing sparring frequency varies on fitness, training goals, and recovery. Beginners should start with one or two sparring sessions per week and grow as they get more comfortable. Sparring should be balanced with other training to avoid overtraining and injuries.

Boxing sparring safety for beginners?

Safety is paramount during boxing sparring for beginners. To prevent injury, wear gloves, mouthguards, and headgear. For safe and productive sparring, novices should speak with their sparring partner and instructor, set boundaries, and manage their punches.

Frequenly Asked Questions about boxing sparring

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