The first thing you have to accept is that it is impossible to win at sparring, just as it is impossible to win at at skipping. There is no judge, no score and can have no winner. The only positive outcome available, is that you have a better game than you went in with and the only way to do that is to try and improve your game. Getting bogged down in a tit-for-tat exchange is the perfect way to waste three minutes.
You must accept sparring is not fighting. Sparring is another tool in your arsenal and is used to sharpen skills just like, pads or bags. In sparring you are not testing your power or your strength, but your ability to read your opponents game and trick them into accepting yours.
If you are way below your partner in terms of ability, experience etc. this is the time to practice closing down the guard, getting a few basic combos together and making them work. If you are way above your partner, now is the time to practice the stuff you just aren’t good enough at yet. The things you couldn’t land on an opponent of equal skill last week. There is no point getting into the ring with a beginner and thrashing him about with a basic combo for the whole round, just to pat yourself on the back later, like you’ve achieved something. Give yourself a challenge. Maybe two. Make the challenge so hard that you are working at least as hard as your partner. Otherwise you aren’t a fighter, you’re a bully.
In this gym the point of sparring is to improve your game and the game of everyone else. Our motto is build them up, don’t beat them down.