Sparring is the most sport specific type of training for boxing. It replicates a bout situation, whilst hopefully narrowing the chance of injury through the use of extra protective equipment.
Benefits of sparring
The purpose of sparring is to practice your technique against a live opponent. Although the various bags and pads are good for technical training they don’t hit back! Also it can be rather difficult to perform against a moving target and so requires practice. Qualities such as timing, agility and quick reflexes are needed. All these attributes are achieved and sharpened through sparring.
Disadvantages of sparring
Sparring is the most injury prone aspects of boxing and thus should always be monitored by a competent boxing coach. There is a substantial amount of physical contact involved so you should always spar with someone of an even ability to your own, or someone more experienced who will help you learn and not take a liberty. Sparring partners should also be of similar size and weight.
When to Spar
You should only spar when you’re fit and well. Sparring should not be used for getting fit. It is for active or aspiring boxers to work on the qualities and techniques mentioned above. Sparring when you’re not fit or when your tired (e.g. at the end of a session) is when injury can occur. All it takes is for a sparring partner to be unintentionally careless with their head or elbow, provoke injury, thus, ruining your progress and forcing you to start regaining your sharpness all over again.
Different Types of Sparring
There is more than one way to spar. You can use different types of sparring to work on and introduce new things. Here are some examples:
Conditioned Sparring: You limit each sparring partner to certain techniques, for example left hand punches only. This is useful as an introductory spar, for building confidence or to practice specific techniques.
Body Sparring: Only body shots are allowed from both partners. Body sparring is good for a novice to get used to the contact of the sport.
Open Sparring: For the more experienced boxers. Give as little instruction given as possible until after the sparring. Both partners can box however they wish but punch power should be kept to about 80 percent as you don’t want to be getting injured in training!
Equipment needed for sparring
You need to ensure the sparring boxing equipment you purchase is of a good quality to protect you and your sparring partner. All equipment is on sale at Bristol Boxing Gym and has been tried and tested to ensure quality performance.
Boxing gloves with adequate protection and weight for sparring (16oz minimum)
Sparring is the most advance stage of training. This is where you put all you’ve learnt into the one situation. Just relax and enjoy it. Remember, protect yourself at all times!!