Common Mistakes with the Basic Stance 1 - 3
In the previous post we established what a correct guard should look like. With that in mind let us now examine what some of the common mistakes that occur. Remember it's not practice that makes perfect, but rather perfect practice that makes perfect. So let this post initially serve to improve your own game so that you can either a) recognize these faults in your opponent when you are boxing or b) avoid them in your own stance before you establish them as bad habits.
The above picture shows one of the greatest boxers of all time Floyd Mayweather demonstrating one of the mistakes listed below. Contextually Mayweather was using this for a split second as a way of crossing distance utilizing what is called a "stiff" jab. However even for these purposes it was an excessive movement and illustrates what is covered in this post that mistakes not only occur in beginners but all the way up the chain (albeit it to a much smaller degree).
Common Mistake 1. Feet too far apart/ close together
Footwork is arguably one of the greatest preventers of greatness in Boxing. Very often you will see a boxer who is fast, powerful, fit and strong yet is seemingly unable to put all these attributes together effectively in the ring. This can often be due to their footwork or lack thereof. A stance that is too wide provides a number of hindrances
A) It may feel more stable but it actually destabilizes you in the face of a fast forward moving aggressive attack
B) It reduces any height advantage you may have or further emphasizes any height disadvantage you may have
C) Bio mechanically you will reduce the amount of power you can generate on your power shots by decreasing your torque and force generation capacity.
However with that being said a stance that is too narrow also brings with it a number of its own downsides, namely;
A) If your feet are too close together from front to back you will be unstable on your feet, easier to knock down, slower in reacting and moving as you will have to perform an additional movement to a more balanced position before moving to your intended position
B) You will almost certainly be standing too tall if your feet are too close together from front to back which will make you a bigger target to hit and less able to 'sink' into your shots and produce power
C) if your feet are too close together from side to side eg more in a straight line than shoulder width apart you will again be off balance, especially if hit, slower in moving and reacting and less able to produce power
Thus to avoid these problems it is important to always maintain the correct stance of feet shoulder width apart with one in front of the other so that you have appropriate twisting capacity to produce power on your shots and even weight distribution whilst moving.
Common Mistake 2. Standing Flat footed
Just as the slightly bent knees of your boxing stance allow you the explosion to move and respond rapidly, so too does supporting your weight on the balls of your feet. Standing flat footed leaves you open to the proverbial 'stick n move' attack where your opponent will close distance, hit you and escape before you can respond with a counter punch. Look at how your foot moves when you walk to see the importance of being on your toes. Notice how the balls of your feet roll on to your toes before what is known as 'toe-off' during the gait cycle (walking). See how easily you can spring forward into a sprint.
Now try to walk completely flat footed so that your heel and the rest of your foot hit at the same time. Notice how it feels more like stamping than walking and how it is very difficult to spring in any direction. This is exactly what happens if you stand flat footed when boxing and can leave you very vulnerable to attack and noticeably slower in your offense.
Common Mistake 3. Standing too upright
This is a common mistake that happens especially in inexperienced fighters once they receive a heavy hit that they are unaccustomed to. The disadvantage of standing too upright is that a boxer will generally also expose their chin when standing too tall because they lack the rolled forward protective posture. Without this rolled forward protective posture the boxers abdominal muscles are also not as contracted making straight shots to the body more painful. As previously mentioned, standing too upright will also make you a larger target and easier to hit in the body especially with straight shots. Furthermore it creates more distance to move in order to switch from protecting from the body then the head. A good stance should involve minimal change in stance to protect against either.