Increase your striking speed
Like everything in life the more you practice the better you get, they same applies to increasing your technique speed. Most people punch slow because their mindset is wrong and they are training wrong. There are very few things that can equal out hand-speed. We all realise that if you can move quicker and strike quicker than your opponent then you increase your odds of winning or surviving a fight. No matter how strong you are, if your opponent’s punch lands first, they will beat you easily.
We have compiled some punching methods for improving your overall hand speed.
Quicker the mind, quicker the strike
If you are concerned about your hand-speed then your first port of call is not your genetics, undeveloped muscles or secret squirrel methodologies. It is actually your own mind-set.
Being aware of what is going on is the key. Focus on your awareness. You want to train your eyes to watch a target and quickly pass the signal to your brain telling your arm to move. If you can ‘see’ the opportunity to strike first then you can get a headstart on striking giving you a vital split second advantage.
But how do you make your mind quicker? This is pretty straight forward actually. Practice every day on fast moving targets. Speed bags, drop towels, ping pong ball catch, ball blocks all train the eyes and mind to follow fast moving targets and throw strikes when opportunities are provided. Watch and throw 1 or 2 shots when appropriate. During these exercises stay completely focused on the target. Do not take your eyes off of it! The first step to faster strikes is to train a quicker mind!
Focus on the right Attitude
When doing pad/bag work I regularly see students trying to destroy the target when I tell them to go faster. Funny thing is I said faster not harder. Loading up your strikes usually means you swing wider, longer and with more body commitment all delivering you more power and damage but certainly is not going to make your strikes faster.
To strike faster does not mean you need to put more effort and force into your strike. The right approach and attitude is to focus on speed and nothing else. Power does not matter. Imagine yourself striking without your opponent being able to see it. Just focus on pure speed.
When shadow boxing now apply this attitude, don’t think about knocking their block off but you are trying to steal their mouthpiece.
The contradiction, Relax
The only way to enable your body to move at its fastest is to be relaxed. Being relaxed means your muscles have the best potential to move at their maximum speed.
Across all sports, it is clear that the most relaxed athletes usually come out on top. They outperform their opponents across the board. Now while I say relax there is a fine line between relaxed movement and lazy movement. The difference between them is one works in a flowing motion without tension and stress and the other is without control or purpose.
How do you relax then when striking. Top of that list is to not have your fist tightened all the time. Keep the hand relaxed and only tighten it into a fist on the moment of impact. Second, keep your shoulders down nice and loose not hunched. Third, don’t flex your biceps or any other part of your body before the strike. Being relaxed across your body before the strike means you will strike faster.
Release the beast
Put the above all into action. Set your mindset and clear your mind. Don’t think about crushing your opponent. Having that attitude will mean you tense up using more energy and slowing your strikes. As you release your strike exhale sharply as you release the arm then your body nice and relaxed into the strike.
Breath quickly again as you recoil to throw you next punch. the quicker you recoil the quicker your next strike will be. A common issue with many people is they load their shots slowing the strike down substantially. This is the process of pulling your strike back before it goes forwards. It also shows they are thinking too much and their mind is not clear and you are trying to hit them hard. Remember, don’t think about power, think about touching them quickly.
Breath quick and clear
Ever heard people exhaling and inhaling quickly when they strike. Quick breathing means quick striking. Explosive breathing means powerful and explosive movements. Your bodies timing is intrinsically tied to your breathing. If you want to strike fast then you need to learn to breathe fast.
The flurry of fast Combinations
Your mind is clear, you are relaxed, you are breathing as you strike. Follow the feeling of your breathing and your body movements and let your strikes flow one after another and invariably your overall striking will get quicker and quicker.
If you approach your opponent with a step-by-step plan of how your strikes will be thrown your striking capability will be diminished as is your adaptability. Instead, approach your opponent with a short combination in mind and just let it flow. Repeated practice will mean your mind will naturally adjust your combinations during exchanges to counter your opponent’s punches.
To get fast…
There are no shortcuts, don’t be lazy and don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the steps above in your training to seriously increase your hand speed. Be aware, be relaxed, breathe faster, and punch faster!