BOXING FOOTWORK FOR BEGINNERS
Whilst outsiders looking in may think the most important skill in boxing is your arm work as you strike your opponents, any professional will tell you that dominating the boxing ring is all about your footwork. When you think about the importance of moving around to dodge blows and throw a punch with power, it is all about having the right movements in the feet. Allow us to take you through the footwork basics to get you on track to becoming an even better boxer.
"FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY, STING LIKE A BEE - MUHAMMAD ALI"
We could not have put it better ourselves. The legendary Muhammad Ali understood and exhibited how your movement significantly impacts your ability to beat the competition in the ring. As a matter of fact, most professional boxing trainers will start with the fundamentals of footwork, stance and defending before introducing any striking skills.
FIND YOUR CENTER OF GRAVITY
Consider Floyd Mayweather Jr, the undefeated boxing champion who never lost a fight over the duration of his 21-year career. Many acclaims his great success to his world-class defence skills, paired with his incredible athleticism and boxing skills. His unbeatable defence skills all stemmed from his sense of balance and centre of gravity. By being able to control and manoeuvre his body around his component he could avoid every strike while also delivering a punch with maximum power. A boxer with poor balance will be more susceptible to copping their opponents strikes and will find it challenging to deflect from this positioning. The by-product of good footwork is good balance which allows you to maximise the quality of your workout whether you are in the fighting ring or not.
EVENLY DISTRIBUTE YOUR BODY WEIGHT
The way you distribute your body weight through your feet, knees, legs, and hips is an integral part of your overall balance and positioning. Your goal is to be able to make movements in any direction with ease, and this requires evenly distributed weight between both feet. If your weight is unevenly distributed between your feet, you make your movement unnecessarily harder, resulting in slower agility. As we know, boxing hardly requires standing in one place, with a constant need to shuffle to find a better positioning to hit your opponent or avoid any potential strikes.
Use the shuffling technique as your core technique to remain light on your feet and as the expression goes “always on your toes”. By rapidly moving your feet in an alternating manner and keeping the weight on the balls of your feet you can prepare for speedy movements in any direction as required.
The slide is a key movement to allow you to strike a punch with speed and force or retract from an oncoming strike. Use the shuffle as your base and when the moment comes to cast a strike or move in a certain direction, step with one foot leading. Avoid any dragging that will create resistance and slow you down.
The pivot is essential for when you need to turn your body in a new direction. Very similar to a basketball or netball pivot, you keep your front foot on the ground and rotate your body around that foot that stays put on the ground. This technique is handy for those moments where you do not have time to slide back or forth yet need to avoid an incoming strike or throw a strike of your own. Pro tip: If you can anticipate an incoming strike this is the perfect move to quickly dodge and throw a strike of your own from an angel in which they are vulnerable.
Build your agility, endurance, and coordination through simple skipping exercises. Start with 100 skips or consistent skipping for 15 minutes and continue doing this until your fitness improves and you can do this easily. From here you can advance to criss-cross arm skips, backward jumps, one legged jumpers or high knee jumps to elevate your capabilities.
Also known as plyometric exercises, box jumps enhance strength and speed through rapid bursts of power. Use a box at shin or knee height and take explosive leaps onto the box in repetition, squatting as you land, ensuring you keep your feet at shoulder width apart.
You can easily access this exercise with or without an agility ladder, just use chalk to mark out a ladder pattern on the ground. There are range of different drills to do that will improve your coordination and speed including in and outs, single foot hops and cross overs. In no time your quick movements will become a part of your muscle memory.
Shadowboxing is the act of miming a real fight, at speed, by yourself. Focus on holding a solid stance, while practising using your shuffles, slides, and pivots in unison with throwing and dodging strikes.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!