Many boxing experts will tell you that ‘the jab’ is the most effective punch in boxing. It is a punch that is used to setup bigger punches. Even if a boxer can successfully out-jab his opponent throughout the 12 rounds, he/she will win the match on points.
A lot can be said about the jab, but one thing is for sure. The jab is most probably the easiest and hardest punch to throw! It is easy to throw as you will be using your lead hand to throw a straight punch. It is hard because you are almost always open to counters if you fail to get your hand back in time to cover your face. The great, Lennox Lewis, was very well known for having one of the best jabs in boxing history. What people do not understand is that it wasn’t the power of his jab that got him victories, it was how he used it effectively.
Tip 1: Do not let your opponent time you.
You can be countered almost immediately after throwing a jab, especially if your opponent manages to time it or sees it coming. It is highly important to not become predictable. A good jab is one which is thrown off rhythm or when the opponent least expects it. Never throw a jab after an interval! Just keep throwing from different angles and double it sometimes. This will never let you be predictable.
Tip 2: Use footwork.
You do not need to throw a jab with full power. Instead, throw a jab while moving! You can go backwards, forwards and even sideways while throwing your jab. If you think your opponent is putting too much pressure on you, then you can simply extend your arm and even that will bother him/her. If you move while throwing your jab, your opponent will have a harder time countering you.
Tip 3: Setup combos.
You can use your jab to setup your power shots or combos. The best part about using the jab to setup combos is the fact that you can always stop in the middle of the combo if you think you are going to miss badly. It isn’t always necessary to try to land a power shot after every jab. Just use the jab and see how your opponent reacts or how your opponent defends. You can usually use this information to land a power shot.
Tip 4: Find your range.
Jabs are excellent range finders. If you jab is landing, so will your power straight hand or cross. They are also good for pushing your opponent back or keeping your opponent away from you.
Tip 5: Get your hand back quickly.
You must get back to cover your face as soon as you throw the jab to leave very little room for a counter shot. If you just pop your jab and bring it back fast, you will most likely not get hit by a counter. Getting your hand back quickly will also keep your guard tight and block off most counter jabs.