Saturday, January 7, 2012

How to Select Boxing Headgear?

Protective headgear is mandatory in all U.S. and major international amateur boxing competitions, including the Olympic Games. Head protection helps reduce the impact of blows to the head caused by both punches and falls. The additional padding also reduces the risk of facial cuts, perforated eardrums and damaged ears.

Open-face Headgear
Open-face headgear protects the top and sides of the head, but leaves the face exposed. Many boxers prefer to wear open-face headgear during competitive matches because it does not limit the field of vision. If you do not mind taking a few direct hits to the face, this type of headgear is a good choice. Boxing requires split-second reactions, so a clear line of sight is invaluable. Most open-face head protectors are secured with an adjustable strap beneath the chin and have channels for the ears.
Full-face Headgear
Full-face headgear offers better protection to the front of the face. The basic design is similar to open-face headgear, but with additional padding across the chin and cheeks. Restricted visibility is a potential drawback with this type of head guard. However, you might feel more secure wearing full-face headgear, particularly if you are concerned about a facial injury sustained during a previous match. According to the official USA Boxing Rulebook, it is acceptable to wear headgear with cheek protectors during a competitive fight, as long as your vision is not impaired. If a helmet features the official USA Boxing or AIBA stamp, it has been approved for competitive matches.
Sparring Headgear
As a boxer, you will spend a significant amount of time in the sparring ring. Visibility is not so important during training sessions, so sparring headgear tends to be well padded and more bulky than competitive head protection. Extra layers of foam help cushion impacts, while some fighters prefer to spar wearing face-saver headgear. Face-saver helmets feature a bar across the face, protecting the nose, mouth and cheeks from direct blows. You cannot wear sparring headgear for competitive matches.
Choosing the Correct Size
Choosing the correct size of boxing headgear is vital. If it is too big, it will not stay in place and will slowly shift its position. If it's too small, and you will not be fully protected. A referee will not let you fight if your headgear does not fit correctly. Try on a few sizes and models to find the perfect fit. Once the fit feels good, you can make smaller adjustments using the helmet's straps.

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