Boxing: how to conquer the fear of getting hit

From beginners to world champions, everyone has been afraid of getting hit in the ring or at practice. But, it’s the fear of the unknown that really affects us. If you want to gain confidence, experience, and learn to avoid getting hit altogether, you need the right training.

man hits the opponent with his boxing glove

Muhammad Ali once said “we can’t be brave without fear.” A little bit of fear is a good thing—it means you’re human. Luckily, preparation sets you up for success as a novice. Gearing up with the right equipment and training effectively are essential to enjoy the sport of boxing.

Everyone is afraid of getting hit

A boxer will tell you fear is one of the reasons why they train. When stepping into the ring, things can get serious very fast. You need to know what you’re doing: how should you react to an attack or your opponent’s footwork? To conquer your fear, build up confidence, and truly enjoy boxing, you have to learn the ropes. Training and practice make all the difference.

Practice with protective gear

If you’ve ever talked to a coach, you might have heard them say: “Practice, practice, practice, and when you think you’re ready: keep practicing!” To start off on the right foot, you need to train hard, stay focused, and be patient—technique takes time to master. And whether practicing boxing, kickboxing, or another combat sport, always wear protective gear. Not only does it save you from big hits, protective gear also reduces the impact of smaller repetitive strikes so you can keep training for longer periods of time.

two men sparring in the ring with protective gear
people sparring in boxing ring with protective gear

Protective gear: an extra layer of confidence

Feeling safe is a big part of training effectively, and it starts with protecting yourself effectively. Here’s a list to get you started:

Mouthguard: a must-have for boxers—it helps reduce the impact of blows and prevents broken teeth. Finding a mouthguard that fits your teeth is not always easy, so we recommend choosing a model that can be moulded for a perfect fit.

Shin guards: given the sport’s high-impact nature, shin guards are especially important in kickboxing. Made from thick foam, they protect you and your opponents. To choose the right size, take into account both the circumference and length of your lower leg.

Boxing gloves: an essential piece of equipment to protect your hands and your opponent from fierce blows.

Protective guard: wear a cup specifically designed for combat sports.

Full face head guard: the fit is crucial to keep it in place throughout your training session or match.

A sport called “combat”

People who are new to combat sports often ask how competitive or rough it can get. It’s normal for boxers to embrace and thank each other post-fight, even though they were “battling it out” a few minutes earlier. At the end of the day, it’s a sport with rules and regulations. A friendly competition based on mutual respect is at the heart of every athletic face-off.

Training techniques

Studying and perfecting your foot and fist technique is a great way to improve your boxing skills. It’s only by training effectively that you gain valuable experience and learn to control your hitting power. Hard work pays off. With proper technique, a boxer can land accurate blows and hit without getting hit. If you’re getting hit less to begin with, you have less to be afraid of!

Also, trusting your training partners is vital. Sparring with more experienced boxers in a supportive environment will develop your skills even further. It’s the small victories you achieve by training every day that builds confidence and improves your mental strength.

Boxer in defensive guard position with hands up at their face

An arsenal of defensive guards

Have you ever heard the expression “don’t let your guard down?” Long before stepping into the ring, before sparring, the first thing a boxer learns are their basic guards. Are both hands up near your face or is one hand lower? Defensive body positioning has to be fluid, allow you to move easily, strike instantly without a wind-up, and block an opponent from attacking vulnerable points on your body.

Being in control

If you want to develop your reflexes to effectively counter your opponent, it's best to train slowly but surely. Professional boxers learn to control their body language even when they receive painful blows. They might not bat an eyelash, giving nothing away. Managing the fight in this way helps you appear stronger to your opponent, while keeping your focus on your technique and skill.

Being in control is fundamental. Feeling confident in your abilities will motivate you to be brave and push yourself even further.

If you are interested in boxing, start with the proper gear and training to build up your self-confidence and overcome the fear of getting hit.  Surround yourself with experienced boxers, join a class, find a coach, spar, while gaining knowledge and experience. You will soon be able to float like a butterfly, avoid the stings, and knock out the fear!

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