Is boxing safe for kids to learn?
When taught in a controlled environment Boxing Lessons Are actually safer than many team sports. The way to keep boxing safe is how you teach it and who you spar with. 9/10 times when some gets hurt while sparring, it's because they were sparring with a beginner with no control.
Kids Boxing Class
Boxing is a contact sport, and sometimes you can get hurt if your when boxing a beginner because they don't know what they're doing. But, in some cases boxing can be a lot safer than other non-contact sports. For example, you can break your ankle playing basketball or get a concision while paying football.
We make sure to ease kids into sparring. The last thing we want to happen is for a kid to get hit hard and start crying.
There are ways for an instructor to control a contact class and make sure that your child will leave the class happy and smiling.
For example, the very first thing that an instructor can do to keep kids safe, is to pair up kids of similar level.
Maturity Is Key
Sometimes this is not always available so the next thing that an instructor can do is make sure that beginners partner with a child that is mature enough to hold back on power, while still trying to work on their own techniques.
The second way an instructor can make sure that boxing class is safe is to run limited sparring drills. This is where sparring is not full contact and the techniques that only a few techniques are being worked on at one time.
Limited Sparring At First
Limited sparring could mean that one kid is only throwing the jab while the other is allowed to only block the jab or slip the jab, then both partners would switch roles.
Although these limitations on sparring do not reflect real combat, I prefer them over having kids thrown into the ring with little experience only to be discouraged because they could not handle the sparring session.
In fact, I would go so far as saying that any instructor who does not understand these two ways of dealing with contact for kids, should not be teaching. It is inevitable that a child is going to get hurt and never want to train again.
As martial arts instructors, it is our responsibility to make sure that kids see their training in a positive light.
No one should ever be afraid of coming to class, and no child should ever quit because an instructor thought that the right thing to do is to toughen up kids by letting them spar with contact before they are ready.
Safety In Boxing Class
Boxing Is A Great Way To Channel Aggression
Children of all ages can sometimes display aggressive attitudes. The cause of this aggression can vary widely. Sometimes it's genetics, or maybe frustration with school.
Martial arts training provides a healthy way for children to release their aggressiveness without hurting anyone.
We teach a variety of martial arts styles at our school. For example, one of these styles is boxing. Kids like to hit targets when practicing in martial arts classes. We use the punch mitts to give them a sense of personal power. When they actually hit the hand targets, its very therapeutic for many children.
Punching the mitts allows the child to channel their frustration or anger into action and gives them a chance to burn off energy and frustration. They can place all of their energy into their practice and it helps to distract them from aggressive behaviors. They become much calmer and serene after exercising and working hard in the kid's classes.
Striking the targets in martial arts class will also create a positive response in your child's mind. Feel-good chemicals are released in the body whenever they exercise and can all help ease feelings of anger and frustration.
For parents of aggressive children, enrolling them in a martial arts class might seem to be counterproductive but when we teach children self-defense techniques like these, we also teach them when it is appropriate and inappropriate to use them. We want all of our students to be able to take a stand for themselves when others bully them. We teach them to not start any fights, but if attacked, we teach them that it is OK to defend yourself.
Footwork Is Key
Every martial arts school has its own way of teaching footwork drills to kids. However, all footwork techniques have similar goals.
The first goal of martial arts footwork is to keep the practitioner in balance. Your child should be able to move in any direction while still maintaining their balance and keeping their hands up in a guard position.
The secondary goal of having good footwork is to be able to move in and out of range. Footwork can control an entire fight by moving an in and out of striking distance efficiently.
The third goal of footwork is to develop a more powerful strike. When moving into a opponent's footwork, it actually increases the momentum and adds power to a forward strike.
Most of the time kids want to bypass footwork drills in favor of learning to punch or kick. Kids are naturally going to find punching and kicking more exciting than learning to move. No matter how much I feel like teaching JUST footwork for long periods of time, I won't do it. When training kids in Summer Camps, you have tempered some of the more tedious drills with fun.
If the kids don't find practicing to be fun they are going to quit anyway. So our job as coaches is to find a happy medium where kids walk away smiling and happy but yet at the same time having learned their fundamentals.
It's All In The Details
When teaching kids boxing, it is sometimes hard for them to be aware of all the details for each movement.
For example, when they first learn the jab, they are concentrating so hard on punching with power and speed, that they forget about keeping their other hand up, or they may forget to stay in stance.
We use these clever ways to patiently remind the students of proper form.
Here Are 3 Tips To Help Your Child Learn Boxing
First, make sure that the hand that is not punching stays where it is supposed to. We use a pretend glue bottle to keep their hands glued to the correct position.
Second, make sure that their hand does not drop down on the way back to home base. As you know, it's when you are initiating a punch, that you are most vulnerable to getting hit yourself.
Lastly, tell your child to pull their hand back to home base quickly. The faster their retraction is, the faster they will be able to initiate the next attack or defensive technique.