The lead hook is perhaps the most effective punch in any champion’s repertoire – if it is delivered correctly. A coach will insist that you work long hours on the bag, and then on the pads, to learn the basic lead hook. It is, in the main, a counter-punch and, as its name suggests, is a bent-arm shot that is used at medium and short range.
The rear hook is slightly different in that, due to it coming from the rear hand, it has to be thrown at short range – both to the head and body. It is best used as part of a combination of punches or as a counter-punch against an opponent rushing in to launch an attack.
The key points to remember when throwing a hook are:
- Stay in position
Hold your head still while looking at your opponent from under your eyebrows. Make sure your rear hand is guarding the jaw, slightly below eye level. Keep your chin down, tucked against the top of your chest.
- Hips don’t lie
The power comes not from the arm but mainly the hips, with a little from the shoulders. The pivot of the shoulders and hips is like a trigger mechanism and crucial to generating power.
- Finishing position
The hook should land with the palm facing downwards in the amateurs but landing with the thumb up is acceptable in the pros.