As a beginner the first time you spar is likely to be one of the moments that you question if the sport is right for you, as even people who have just a few months more experience than you seem able to pick you apart at will. A massive part of this is that you’re just not used to the situation and are more prone to tensing up and flinching away from incoming shots.
This is a super simple drill you can do to work on your guard, get yourself out of the habit of flinching and learn to watch your opponent instead. You can also add to this drill to include counters and other techniques as you advance. All you need is a partner and a pair of sparring gloves each.
Face your opponent in your fighting stance. Keep your guard really tight (knuckles glued to your eyebrows kind of tight) and keep your eyes on your opponent while they throw quick, light, straight punches against your guard. Told you it was simple.
The punches should be super light, connecting with your gloves without breaking through or rocking you. This is all about learning to watch what’s going on and not duck away when a punch comes in. Go back and forth for a couple of rounds before each sparring session, and build up the power and add in other strikes (hooks, uppercuts and even body shots) as your confidence grows.
As we said before you can adapt this drill to include counters when you get more comfortable. The easiest way to do it would be have your partner pepper you with light shots as before, and at random points hold a glove up to catch a straight right. Your job is watching through your gloves while hes striking and wait for the opening to appear to throw your counter. Again, you can build up counter combos and incorporate more head movement as you improve.
Have you used this technique before? Got any tips for beginners or alternative ideas? Let us know in the comments!