“Timing beats speed, precision beats power” Conor McGregor.
There’s a lot of emphasis on power and speed in combat sports. Something that can get overlooked is precision. Without the precision in striking, power and speed can be of little use. As seen in many mixed martial arts and boxing matches, a punch landed with precision, usually results in a knockout. You can see in this video the results of a perfectly placed punch by MMA fighter Conor Mcgregor, this punch won him the featherweight belt in just 13 seconds!
In a boxing match, the aim is to end the fight early, take as little damage as possible and get back home safely right? To do this, boxers need to hit the target. The target in boxing is the area that will stop an opponent from continuing the fight. These are places like the chin, jaw, solar plexus, temple and liver.
Lack of precision makes it very difficult to hit the target. Being precise is an excellent quality that separates the average fighters from the great.
Precision in boxing comes down to hand-eye coordination. This is the coordinated control of eye movement with hand movement. Some people believe it is a natural skill which is true, some people have better hand-eye coordination than others but, it is a skill that can also be learned and improved upon.
Sparring is one of the best ways to improve your punching accuracy but, there are also other methods that can use when training at home or alone.
Here are 4 ways that you can improve your hand-eye coordination that can help you improve your punching accuracy.
1. The Tennis Ball Boxing Cap
Below is a video with step by step instructions on how to create your own tennis ball boxing cap.
- Tennis Ball
- Elastic Cord
- Pierce a small hole in the tennis ball
- Tie one end of the elastic cord to the hairpin (make sure it’s tied tight)
- Push the hairpin into the tennis ball
- Tie the other end of the elastic cord to the strap on your cap
Now you can practice punching the tennis ball by wearing the cap back to front. This technique has benefits for hand-eye coordination, reflexes, cardio, as well as being a lot of fun! The tennis ball can return back fast so take it slowly in the beginning!
2. The Double Ended Tennis Ball
Below is a video with step by step instructions for making your own homemade double ended tennis ball.
This is another technique that is excellent for developing your hand-eye coordination and increasing your punching accuracy. It also has benefits for reflexes and cardio. You can use this method as part of your training and work in rounds. 3mins boxing followed by one minute rest (this is one round). A good routine would be to go 3 rounds on the double end tennis ball and 3 rounds on the tennis ball boxing cap.
3. Tape Around Heavy Bag
Have you ever noticed thin strips of duct tape around heavy bags in some boxing gyms? The reason for this is to provide a target on the punching bag to help develop hand-eye coordination.
You can do this at home if you have a heavy bag. Place pieces of duct tape (or any tape) on the heavy bag at the height areas of the chin and liver. Instead of aimlessly hitting the heavy bag, the duct tape will give you a target to hit. Practice moving around the bag and striking the bag on the duct tape from different angles. This will help improve your hand-eye coordination and punching accuracy. Envision your opponent as clear as possible when hitting the target areas.
4. Throwing and Catching a Tennis Ball
For this exercise, you will just need a tennis ball and a slanted board. With one hand throw the tennis ball at the board and catch it with both hands. As you get better, try to catch the ball with one hand only. You can then progress to moving closer to the board and throwing and catching the tennis ball (the closer you are the harder it is!) This is a great way to help develop your hand-eye coordination and your reflexes.
5. Punching Leaves
This method is simple and is used by many fighters including the Klitschko brothers (you can see Wladimir Klitschko using this method from 35 seconds onward in the video above) . All you need is to find a tree with overhanging branches and leaves, at around head height. Practice striking the leaves on the tree at different angles and levels. Don’t forget to practice a range of strikes like the left hook, jab, cross and also practice punch combinations.
So there you have it. My top 4 ways to help develop your hand-eye coordination and help improve you’re punching precision! Use these methods during your training and always envision your opponent when doing so.
If you have any questions or need any advice feel free to leave a comment below and I will reply back to you. Alternatively, you can email me. If you found the post useful don’t forget to share it with your friends!
Have a good week!