Being light on your feet in the ring is one of the most important things in the world of martial arts, especially in boxing. If you move in the right way and if you can change your position fluidly, your opponent will have a hard time hitting you.
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The best defense is not getting hit, and having a proper footwork technique will allow you to dodge a great deal of punches. If your opponent has a hard time landing a punch, he will have no chance against you.
Positioning yourself appropriately during a fight will allow you to throw your punches at full speed. On the other hand, if your footwork technique is poor, you will have a hard time dealing with the advances of your opponent, and it might cost you a win.
Today I will talk about how to utilize your feet during a boxing match properly, but keep in mind that you will have to work hard to achieve the perfect footwork.
Also Read: Boxing combinations you need to know
Table of Content
Why Is Footwork Important In Boxing?
As mentioned, being able to fluidly move in a ring is essential in almost every martial art sport. Footwork consists of stepping forward, backward, left, and right, shifting your weight from one leg to another, and pivoting.
To successfully attack or defend yourself, you will need to work on your footwork. Not every person can move in the same way. All of that is influenced by fighter’s weight, agility, height and fighting style.
There are numerous different ways someone can move while in the ring. Footwork will depend on the fighting style of a boxer, and a strategy fighter might have when entering a fight. Most people think that matches are defined by styles, but try to think about it the other way around.
Do you think it is possible that a specific fight might influence the style? Of course it can. So, let’s talk about the benefits of having a good footwork technique.
Movement – moving efficiently during a fight will help you conserve much-needed energy, and you will less likely make a mistake
Rhythm – having a sense of rhythm is vital in boxing because it will allow you to avoid fatigue and to pace yourself more efficiently
Power – positioning yourself in a right place during a fight will allow you to throw stronger punches and you will be able to control your range
Confidence – you will grow more confident every time your opponent misses a punch, and you strike back
General improvement – having a good footwork will improve your balance, coordination, and agility by making your leg muscles stronger
Footwork Tips To Know
There are couple of tips I will tell you about. These tips are vital for having a great footwork. So, let’s start with the most important one.
Having a boxing shoes on feels more like wearing socks than shoes. Most of the boxing shoes have thin soils which allow your feet to grip much better to a ring surface. This will allow you much better power transfer.
Jumping rope is one of the best conditioning exercises and that is exactly what you need. If you plan on moving around a lot, make sure that your body is able to handle all that stress.
Moving around your opponent requires great balance. Keeping your spine straight will allow your body to be perfectly balanced from your head to toe. This way, you won’t have to re-balance every time you spin or move.
Even though your legs and your body are two completely different parts of your body, you must control them and move as they were one. Your core is the main “engine” of every powerful action you take. If you don’t relax your upper body, your muscles will get stressed, and you will feel tired. Tighten your muscles only when striking or defending!
Keep your stance narrow. If you keep your legs in a wide stance, you will lose energy much faster, and you won’t be able to move fluidly. Keeping your feet in narrow stance will help you to develop better balance awareness.
Small steps. Small steps. That is all you need to know; Boxing is not running, you win a match by hitting your opponent, not outrunning him. The more you move, the more energy you will waste, and you will throw less and weaker punches.
5 Exercises To Try To Improve Your Boxing Footwork
Jumping rope is fundamental in boxing. It’s hard to imagine a boxing training without a jumping rope. The rope will help you master the rhythm, boost your cardio and you will be able to better coordinate your footwork.
This is probably the best way to work on your footwork. Another great benefit of shadowboxing is improving hand and foot coordination. Think about how you move while you are shadowboxing, imagine yourself in tight positions and try to escape them.
Even though it has a “ladder” in its name, ladder drill doesn’t have anything to do with ladders. Place some lightweight material on the floor and arrange it to resemble a ladder and then use it as a guide for the movement of your feet. This exercise if popular with footballers, tennis player, and rugby players.
Box jumps will make your movement more explosive which means that when circling your opponent, your every move will have more explosive power and you will have more spring when bouncing. There are a couple of ways to exercise box jumps. There is a marching technique, single step jumps, and double feet jumps.
No matter how good you are, there is always someone better than you. What I’m trying to say is that you should take a step back once in a while and observe other fighters. This will allow you to see how they move while inside the ring, how they get in the range, how they avoid opponent’s strikes and how they defend. You can also watch bad fighters to find out which things you shouldn’t do.
Every fight is different than the one before. Same goes for your opponent. Sooner or later you will need to change your fighting style in order to defeat your opponent. For example, take one of the greatest fighters of all time; Muhammad Ali.
Everybody knows that Muhammad Ali was incredibly fast on his feet for a heavyweight boxer because he moved on his toes. When he was getting ready to fight George Foreman, Ali knew that moving around won’t be enough since he will lose a lot of energy needed for a fight. Instead, Muhammad Ali invented a risky strategy today known as the rope-a-dope. Instead of “dancing” around Foreman, Ali decided that the best way to win is to lay on the ropes and letting his opponent throw as many punches as he can.
He defended himself as best as he could, and once Foreman was exhausted, Ali turned the table and knocked George Foreman out. Working on your footwork technique will allow you to move more efficiently, it will improve your sense of rhythm, balance, coordination, and agility, it will increase your striking power, and you will be more confident once you notice that your opponent has a hard time landing a punch.