Power is an open secret in boxing, and most fighters hear their coaches talking about “punching through” and “putting your body behind” a solid, powerful shot.
But there is another, sneakier and equally effective method to score punches, intimidate an opponent, and win your game, and that’s in developing a stinging snap in your punch; particularly your jab.
A regular jab can be used for a variety of purposes in the boxing ring. It can measure the distance between you and your opponent or it can open the way for a power shot, among other things. But it can be a devastating shot all on its own if you can make it into a snapping whip of a shot, the kind of punch that comes out of nowhere, hits like an electric shock, and disappears before your opponent can even register its presence.
What gives a punch snap
A snapping punch is created out of speed and minimal contact. It’s a punch that goes out fast and returns fast. You have to turn it over (right at the end of the shot), touch with sting, and bring it back to guard position in rapid-fire succession.
A well-landed shot of any kind has a distinctive sound on the heavy bag or mitts. There’s a particular thwack or pop that gives you the feedback you need to know you’ve scored with precision and pain. But a snapping punch has a higher sound, almost like a dry stick being cracked in two.
The advantages of snap jabs
1. They save your power.
When you’re punching for power alone, you will burn a lot of energy quickly, and you run the risk of gassing out. You can’t launch bomb shots rapidly, either. Nor can you spend the entire fight throwing one knockout punch after another; there’s a dance, a balance to be maintained. Boxing is a conscious mental play of the game pieces, and rather than blindly launching everything you have at once, you have to choose your shots.
2. They’re fast! They buy you valuable time.
A snapping punch has the great advantage of being incredibly fast. When you get one off, you startle your opponent and buy yourself even more time to launch and score again before they recover. It also allows you to throw more shots than you could if you were loading up power hits one after the other.
3. They preserve your guard.
Because your return to guard so much faster, you’re more protected than if you’re leaving yourself open during a push-through or penetrating power hit.
How to throw a snapping punch
You have to have your distance exactly right. Throw some measuring jabs out there, and once you know the range for a snap-touch, fire a couple off. If you’re advancing on the jab, you have to put that into your calculations. Try from your stable stance before tossing in an advance, because advance-jabs tend to be more “punch through” than snapping jabs.
But the biggest secret to throwing a snapping punch is relaxing. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s absolutely necessary. Think about a coiled whip. The stiffer the braided leather is, the less bite the tip will have when it makes contact. But if it’s supple and loose, Indiana Jones is going to make you cry.
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