How To Prevent Telegraphing Your Punches In Boxing

Boxing is an extremely nuanced martial art. Every slight movement has a purpose. An incremental inch forward with the lead foot adds power to a single jab. The turn of the knuckle ensures follow-through. The speed and velocity of a cross enhance damage on impact.

On the surface, it may look incredibly simple, but under the hood, there’s a lot going on. Boxing is one of the most technical striking martial arts out there.

One of the biggest problems beginner boxers face in the ring is signaling to their opponents what they’re going to do next, offering visual cues and triggers that telegraph their intentions. When you execute techniques with improper form, you tend to develop bad habits that then cause you to telegraph your punches.

Fortunately, training consistently and working to tighten up your technique will solve that. And it’s much better to do this early in your training journey when it’s easier to erase bad habits than later on down the road.

We’ve come up with a few tips for you to follow to help you tighten up your game. Today, Evolve Daily shares how to prevent telegraphing your punches in boxing.


1) Keep Your Eye on the Target

They say the punches that do the most damage are the ones you don’t see coming. That’s why the line of sight in boxing is so important. In the heat of battle, it’s important to never lose sight of your opponent, else get hit with something you don’t anticipate. This is true for both offense and defense.

Lock on to your opponent’s forehead, eyes, or chin, and don’t break that connection even when throwing your combinations or when you’re defending against them. Even as you move across the ring, pivot, and sidestep, you need to be locked on.

That split second you break line of sight is enough for a stray counter to find an opening in your defense, so be careful.

At the same time, you’re lasered in on your offense and game plan, focused on execution. This helps tighten up your techniques and prevents you from making mistakes that might signal your intent. Keeping your eye on the target will reduce the chances of you telegraphing your punches.


2) Don’t Load Up on Your Punches

Further to tightening up your technique, one big rookie mistake people often make is loading up on their punches. The moment you wind up and cock that fist back is enough to signal to your opponent that a punch is coming. Even if it’s just a slight and subtle movement, the very best fighters will pick up on that instantly and react accordingly.

When you load up on your punches, you tend to make these critical mistakes. Instead of loading up, focus on speed and explosiveness if you want to add power to your punches.

As previously mentioned above, a telegraphed step forward with the lead foot will signal a lazy jab. A nudge of your shoulder will give away a slow uppercut. Flaring the elbows signifies a straight punch is imminent. There are many telltale giveaways that you need to tighten up in practice.

At the same time, these are the same cues you need to watch your opponent for. The moment he makes these mistakes, it’s time for you to unleash a counter that will catch him by surprise.


3) Improve Your Speed

Further to the element of surprise, it’s one of the best advantages you can have in a fight. Achieving the element of surprise is one way to prevent yourself from telegraphing your punches. It will catch your opponent off-guard, and hit him with something he doesn’t see coming.

One way to achieve that element of surprise is by improving your speed. The quickness of your attacks reduces the chances of them getting blocked or parried, and increases the likelihood of them landing on your intended target. When your fists are faster than your opponent’s hands, it will be terribly hard for him to block or parry the shot.

Make sure to dedicate parts of your training regimen to working on your speed. This means training with both speed and technique in mind. 

A popular method of speed training is shadowboxing with a light free weight in each hand. Grab a pair of 2 or 3-pound small dumbbells in each hand and proceed with your shadowboxing drills as per normal. The slight increase in weight will stimulate the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your arms, and accustom you to punching with resistance. This will add functional strength to your punching and will spring load your attacks.


4) Diversify Your Combinations

Last but certainly not least, diversify your combinations. Add variety to your punches and don’t use the same combinations over and over again. At the advanced levels, opponents can pick up on patterns and combinations, and make important adjustments in between rounds. The combination you may have had success with early could be negated if your opponent adjusts to it.

Sticking to the same combinations is a surefire way to telegraph your offense.

Master the basic combinations in training and incorporate them into your offense. Learn the best and most effective combinations from your coaches. You can also take signature combinations from some of your favorite professional boxers and try them out.

Taking things a step further, you can experiment with and develop your own unique combinations. Find out which punching sequences work best for you, and bake them into your fighting style.

Having a diversified offense will make it very difficult for your opponents to telegraph your punches or even anticipate what you’re going to do next.


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