Feints are largely underutilized in the sport of boxing, especially in the beginner to intermediate levels. At the professional level, feints are an essential component of success and are used much more frequently.
Feints are techniques or movements aimed at deceiving an opponent. By showing your opponents your intention to a certain move, you elicit a reaction and then hit them with something completely different.
There are many different kinds of feints and different ways to use them. Pretending to punch is one of them. By beginning the initial motions of a punch and then not committing to it, you effectively execute a fake offensive attack that will confuse your opponent. This can either be aimed at the body or the head.
Movement is also part of feinting strategy. By employing fluid lateral movement, moving side to side in an erratic non-pattern, you can also confuse your opponents in this way.
Feints create opportunities for you to capitalize on openings, opening up vulnerabilities in your opponents’ defense. It helps you control the pace of any given fight psychologically, and is an effective weapon against fast and intelligent opponents.
There’s a reason why they say boxing is as much a mental game as it is a physical one, and a huge part of that is because of feints. Today, Evolve Daily shares four ways you can effectively use feints to your advantage in boxing.
1) Use Your Feint To Elicit A Reaction
The essence of feinting is to elicit reactions from opponents by deceiving them with your own actions. There has to be an element of unpredictability, and your opponents must not be able to anticipate your feints or they will be rendered ineffective.
One way to ensure this is to not use the same feint over and over. Learn how to throw different kinds of feints and to different target areas of an opponent’s body.
For example, you can throw fake jabs at different quadrants of an opponent’s head. This will alter his glove guard and create openings for you to capitalize on. Once you see the opening, throw a hard shot. It will more than likely land clean and do a lot of damage.
Mix your feints in with real punches, so that your opponent is unable to figure out any sort of rhythm or pattern. By forcing a reaction from your opponent, you control the pace of any given exchange.
2) Throw Feints To The Body
Sometimes, an opponent can have a really staunch glove guard that is hard to open up. In these cases, you must throw feints to the body in order to get him to lower his guard. One of the classic feints used in boxing is to throw fake punches at the body followed by rapid punches to the head.
By going up top and to the body in an unpredictable manner, it becomes extremely difficult for opponents to determine where your punches will be coming from. Mix feints into your combinations and you also increase your speed, making it harder for your foes to keep up with their reaction times.
Another great way to take advantage of your feints is to monitor your opponent’s line of sight closely. Whenever you throw your feints, especially to the body, watch your opponent’s eyes and see if he breaks line of sight. As soon as you notice he is distracted, even for just a split second, that’s the time to take advantage and launch your attack.
3) Use Your Feet
Throwing fake punches isn’t the only way to use feints, however, you can also feint with your feet.
A great example of using the feet to feint is the handiwork exhibited by Mexican boxing legend Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez loves to bend his knees and dip either into the inside leg, or the outside leg, sometimes slightly while other times very strongly. This causes so many involuntary reactions from opponents, that it’s easy to set up sharp counters.
Using the feet to feint can sometimes also cause an opponent to be thrown off balance. Foot feints are extremely effective when executed correctly. By going in one direction and then quickly shifting to the other direction, you can force your opponent to go where you want him to.
You can also use foot feints to fake punches by exaggerating shoulder movement. This will sometimes cause opponents to turtle up and either protect their body or their head, the same way punch feints do. This then opens them up and makes them vulnerable to clean shots.
4) Exhale Sharply
Simply exhaling very strongly, coupled with a slight bending of the knees is an effective feint when done right. At the highest level of competition, exhaling to feint is a sign of a highly-skilled boxer. Feinting means you can fake any motion if you sell it well enough. This makes even a simple act such as exhaling a great feint to incorporate into your skill set.
As with everything in boxing, practice and repetition are key. Drill every technique over and over until it becomes second nature. Exhaling is an unconventional technique that you can use to great effectiveness.
In fact, every feint has its own specific use and can be adapted to any situation. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll soon be able to make quick decisions, use the right feints in the right situations, and hit your opponents with clean and powerful punching. Having good feints is a sign of an advanced boxer.
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