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In professional boxing, good head movement is associated with good defense and an essential ingredient of success. Even if your game is going tough on you & the opponent is firing on you from all the angles, the head movement can ease it for you while keeping the harm out of your way. Head movement can also be offensive, as they set-up counter opportunities for catching the elusive opponents.
The ultimate goal of having a good command overhead movement is offering the opponents a target, rather than being stationery that is easy to hit. The better command you have over the head movement, the harder it makes for the opponents in landing clean.
Instead of blocking and parrying with your boxing gloves traditionally, your hand can move from side-to-side forward & backward, & in compound movements. Knowing good head movement improves the quality of your game.
The secret to great head movement
For boxing professionals head movement is not really a choice, It is the standard competitive skill that they need to have command over for defeating their opponent. The secret to great head movement simply lies in understanding what a good head movement is & how you can execute it. It is more about keeping your head inside your punches & evading them with nothing but subtle movements.
Head movement is one of the unique arts in boxing. It isn’t used in any other combat sports. Many of these combat arts are creative & fantastic at both attacking and defending but none of them is as beautiful as a head movement.
The main idea behind this movement is to give your opponent a moving target. Instead of defending the target, you keep on moving it. And simply spare your hands for attacking. People have the misconception that boxing is brutally raw & mindless as most of the immature do not defend themselves but rush in attacking. Best head movement isn’t much of movement but subtle.
Benefits of the Head Movement
Following are the main benefits of having good head movement.
- Your hands are free most of the time, so having a greater opportunity of firing back if you aren’t using them for blocking
- It will give you the opportunity to be a step behind for defending yourself before contouring
- It makes your opponent more vulnerable.
- Opponents are likely to be left wide open or fall-off balance while swinging in the air.
- Missing the moving target, again and again, can make the opponents completely tired and it makes it easier to counter fast opponents with slipping.
Following are some head moments explained for boxers to get trained.
1) Duck and Pivot Movement
This movement is very easy to teach and do. It is often a flowy movement that is easy in conserving energy & makes it less punishing for getting hit. By changing the levels, you can duck simply under your opponent’s punch for getting away. It works best for the straight punches. Mostly your opponent will hit you with the jab or straight.
They are the most common punching techniques used in boxing. And you are most likely to run into them. Bucking enables you to evade them correctly, and also provides you a window for pivoting & countering. It makes you roll the head completely and go over & under the punches & come back with these counters. But you use half or quarter of the circle in this movement.
2) Bob and Weave Movement
Bobbing & weaving is like the duck & pivot movement; it just adds the element of moving along the Z-axis then side to side. In this technique, you are not just ducking under the punch by elevating the head-up & down, but combining it with side-to-side ways. This movement is Usually followed by the counter left and right hook, mainly depending on the side you tend to wind upon. Moreover, this movement is quicker than duck & pivot & much more fluid.
Slip & Counter
This movement is reactionary defensive; it allows you to move the head slightly to your left or right while your opponent throws a punch, & then deliver the sharp counter in a hook or straight. In this movement, you slide the head to a side simply. It is a unique and swift movement and very hard and unexpected. It is basically about time the opponent’s punch, & just before the impact, it’s about moving your head off from the centerline. And then throwing a quick & powerful counter which your opponent does not expect.
Pull & Counter
Lastly, it’s pull & counter-movement. It does not require you to move the head backward or out of the range before you deliver the straight punch for countering. While your opponent applies a jab or the straight, they do it by moving forward. Doing this draws power in their punch. Evading it not by just moving the head, but also the torso slightly backward will make the opponent miss & enables you to tag his powerful counter. Pulling the head back swiftly in this move is a form of art. It requires a lot of practice to master this move.
During a fight when your opponent rushes towards you in full swing to throw a powerful punch moving out in the exact movement can be hard. Leaning your head towards the right or left can disturb your balance. Perfecting these techniques requires a lot of practice and effort. Following drills can help you in practicing those head movements.
Drills for Boxing Head Movements
Getting the technique of head movement is easy but swiftly practicing the flow is where the trick comes in. it isn’t all about speed and reflexes but making the movement natural & comfortable.
Checking your flow in the mirror can help a lot in improving it. Head movement isn’t about jerking your head if it feels that way then you aren’t doing it right. It is more like a release than a pull. It should be releasing your head from one place to another. Like a natural rhythm. Your head will bounce around naturally and won’t have to force it there.
2) Slow Sparring
It is the best way of mastering head movements. In sparring, you have to start moving slowly, and then gradually speed it up. It is easy to detect the flaw in your moment when you are practicing it at a slow pace. At a low speed learning the right technique is way easier. Do not focus on slipping everything. Expose yourself to new angles and ways. And develop a natural rhythm in those ways. When you are done with perfecting one technique move on to the next one. It is the rhythm that is the key factor in determining your game.
2) Focus Mitts
Punching Mitts are a good way for practicing head movements. They help a lot in making you learn the basics of head movement. Another great thing associated with practicing the combinations on mitts is the trainer makes you work on the defense and offense at the same time. But it is tiring as well. Focus on relaxation while practicing punching mitts.
If you do not feel it natural then take a break. Jerking too fast and too early in the fight can leave you tired. And that isn’t a correct fighting approach. Relax and keep your focus on developing the rhythm. Slowing down your speeds helps a lot in developing a nice rhythm. Relaxing in the mitts makes you practice relaxing in the ring. It isn’t about getting slow or lazy but being effective.