It’s true that practice makes perfect, but only if the practice has a purpose. Every time you step into the gym, you should have a reason to be there. Not just a need or desire, but a real goal of what you want to accomplish with that specific training session.
Whether you’re preparing for a fight, maintaining your fitness level, improving an exact combination, strengthening some area in your offense, closing the gap on a defensive weakness, if you know your fighter, there should always be something tangible and specific to work on.
Too many fighters walk into a training session to “just get a little work in”. In actuality, there is always too much to be accomplished and too much to focus on for there to be sessions that lack a specific purpose. One of the challenges of boxing is that a fighter is never finished. Even the greatest fighters had things they needed to fix or improve upon. Considering that no fighter has truly “arrived” it should be easy to formulate a game plan before each workout. It doesn’t always have to be an elaborate plan either. Every good coach knows what his fighter is lacking, areas he needs to improve on and what he needs to become better at and each session should be addressing these areas.
If a fighter doesn’t throw enough combinations, it doesn’t always work to just tell him that he needs to do it. If that’s his specific hurdle then drills, partner work, bag work, should all revolve around punching in combinations. If the fighter doesn’t do it because he gets too tired, then an intense cardio component should be factored into all of his training. If he is unsure of what to throw, then boxing mechanics need to be taught on the mitts. If he knows what he needs to do and how to do it, but is just afraid to let his hands go, then some partner drills at 50 percent power may allow him to get more comfortable exchanging.
There are an endless amount of things to work on in the gym. From defense, to technique, to improving power, speed, and endurance…the list is nearly infinite. Even if you don’t have a specific event to train for or an exact opponent you are going to face, you still have an ultimate goal. There is always one over-arching reason that you even go to the gym. The only way to reach that goal is to take calculated, well-thought-out steps to get there. The old adage that you should “plan your work and work your plan” is a perfect philosophy to apply to training and coaching. It speaks to planning, preparation and then executing everything you practiced.
Using the time in the gym to become better, not just put in your time, is what separates the wannabes from the winners. It says that you’re willing to go that extra step to act on your goal. It guarantees that every time you lace ’em up, that you’re punching with a purpose and putting a fight plan into action.