How to Make a Maize Ball for Home

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A maize ball is one of the classic tools of old school boxing training. The ball is a weighted bag suspended from the ceiling by a line at head level. The maize ball swings back and forth, and the boxer works on slipping and other defensive head movement techniques. Mike Tyson's first trainer, Cus D'Amato, supposedly had him train on the maize ball for hours every day, leading to the superlative head movement Tyson demonstrated in his early career. A maize ball is the kind of boxing gear you can make at home, so much so that as the name implies, it's sometimes packed with cornmeal.

Things You'll Need

  • Canvas or leather bag
  • Sand or corn meal
  • Pocket knife
  • Rope
  • Fill a small canvas or leather bag with sand or corn meal to about two-thirds of its capacity. Once filled, the ball should weigh about 1 to 2 lbs.

  • Tie the remainder of the bag into a tight knot, creating a snug ball of tightly packed filler below the knot and the neck of the bag above it.

  • Poke between four and six holes around the neck of the bag with a knife.

  • Thread the end of a rope through the holes that you cut in the neck of the bag, bringing the end of that rope back to the main line of the rope. Tie the rope off into a knot here, securing the rope to the neck of the bag.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once you have a maize ball, hang the ball from a ceiling beam or a hook in the ceiling so that it will hang at head level. Set it into motion with a tap, so the ball swings back and forth. Keep the ball in motion with repeated taps and work exclusively on not getting hit by the ball. You should make the ball miss as much as possible and block it only as a back up. Incorporate at least two or three rounds into your boxing routine to perfect your head movement techniques.

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