Footwork is one of the most important components in boxing. Boxers spend hours upon hours repeating footwork drills in the boxing gym to get the edge on their opponents. Having solid footwork is a telltale sign that a boxer has put in the time and effort to elevate his game.
Most people start boxing by learning how to throw combinations, that’s understandable. But boxing is more than just knowing how to punch. You have to be able to know how to move your body as well. You have to gain the ability to move across the ring, in and out of punching range, and around your opponents with ease.
Once you gain this ability, it becomes so much easier to unload your offense, and you become so much more effective and efficient with your punch output.
Perhaps you are just getting used to training and want to take your practice to the next level. Well, you can start by upgrading your footwork skills beyond just the regular lateral movement.
You should take a portion of your daily training routine to focus on movement and footwork. Give it enough time, and you’ll soon move flawlessly in the ring. You can practice your footwork with various drills, in sparring, or even in shadowboxing. You should practice until footwork becomes second nature. If you want, you can even go into the boxing gym and get a whole workout in without throwing a single punch.
We’ve come up with a list of awesome footwork techniques that you can work on. These can be practiced anywhere you have some space — in the boxing gym, at a park, or even at home. Today, Evolve Daily shares five footwork techniques you can add to your boxing game.
1) Step Back
The step back is one of the best footwork techniques to use against aggressive opponents. By quickly darting out of punching range, you diminish any power of offense coming towards you, or evade it completely. Cover enough ground, and you can even move backward on the centerline.
Your opponent’s natural reaction would be to move forward and follow you. In this case, the step back is wisely followed up with a sharp counter hook or straight punch. If you execute this sequence correctly, you can even catch your opponent as he comes forward, amplifying the damage on your counter.
You can even use the step back slightly off the centerline, escaping in angles and then come back with a damaging blow from outside of your opponent’s field of view. It’s a simple technique that when added to your skillset, can prove very useful.
The sidestep is a very nifty footwork technique you can use to make a sharp and quick off-angle exit to either the left or right side of your opponent. It’s usually followed up with either left or right hooks, or executed simultaneously with a straight punch.
By performing your sidestep in conjunction with a punch, you will seem faster than you really are in the ring. Your opponents will have a hard time preparing themselves for the punch, and in most cases, they won’t even see it coming. Of course, the punches that you don’t see coming are the ones that do the most damage.
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This makes the sidestep an incredible technique to use, particularly on offense.
Some great fighters who have made use of the sidestep to great effect include pound-for-pound great Vasyl Lomachenko, and eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao.
Getting the sidestep right is difficult though, and takes a lot of practice. Once you’ve mastered the sidestep, you can run circles around your opponents with ease.
The pivot in boxing can be likened to a sort of sweeping side step. But instead of moving your lead foot first in the direction you wish to go, you instead plant your lead foot firmly and smoothly move your rear foot in the direction you want to pivot. It’s similar to a pivot in basketball, but in a boxing stance.
The pivot has the ability to really turn your opponents and maneuver them as you desire. It’s a great technique for ring generalship, and can quickly put you in a position of power where you can throw your combinations without fear of retaliation.
Furthermore, the pivot can be used, especially on defense, as you circle away from your opponent’s dominant power hand.
Cuban Olympic boxers are notorious for incorporating the pivot into their skill sets. A great example is former two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux.
4) Foot Feints
Feints are extremely important in boxing. It’s an advanced technique that’s used on both offense and defense, and has the ability to throw an opponent off his game — either by making them hesitant to throw their combinations, or completely resetting them mentally at the center of the ring.
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A great part of throwing feints is by using your feet to fake the movement of throwing a punch. Using foot feints, either hard or soft feints, is an amazing offensive tactic. By feinting with your feet, you can force an opponent to react and make mistakes, leaving you various openings to land power shots.
One of the greatest to use foot feints is Mexican legend, Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez had the ability to force his opponents to react to his feints, and then tag them with sharp and accurate punches.
Shifting is a lost art in boxing, but it certainly has its uses. While most boxers don’t practice shifting, it is still a good technique to learn, and to understand. If you understand how shifting works, you not only gain the ability to use it against your opponents, but also learn how to deal with an opponent who uses this technique.
Shifting is a technique that allows you to “shift your weight” and switch between orthodox and southpaw stance as you are throwing your punches. This allows you to string together your punch combinations with better speed, as you cover more ground quicker while moving forward.
One of the best to practice shifting in modern-day boxing is middleweight great Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin confuses his opponents with deceptive speed by shifting.
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