A great tip in sparring is to control rim shot range without giving full disclosure to your true range. Stated more simply, appear farther away than you really are to your opponent. If you are closer than your opponent thinks you are, you will have an advantage in the fight.
To do this throw a jab with a slightly bent elbow. Most people will expect that your elbow is fully extended and that you are measuring or commanding rimshot as the jab is often used for placement. If you exhibit this behavior while sparring you may be able to surprise your opponent exactly at the moment you need.
You may also throw your opponent off by creating predictable patterns and then suddenly breaking from them. This can be variations in your speed, combos or movements. By doing this you may be able to identify patterns in your sparring that you didn’t even realize are very predictable. Experiment and try some new approaches in your sparring game.
Next time you are out on the mat experiment with this and see how it feels!