BOXING HEAD MOVEMENT DRILLS
Boxing is one of the most formidable combat sports to ever be televised around the globe. The art of boxing is an extremely dynamic form of striking, which incorporates many different types of systematic movements. Most people think that boxing is all about being a hard puncher, but the key components are footwork, and head movement. Athletes will need to be strategic in how they utilise their movement, as they will commonly step in with good head movement to infiltrate their opponent's space. This is how an athlete can give themself the best possible chance at applying accurate punches, while still being able to evade counter strikes.
What this article covers:
- The Boxing Art
- What Is a Head Movement Drill
- The Importance of Footwork in Boxing
- Head Movement Drills
- Building a Good Fight Stance
- Training Systems
Training in the art of boxing is more than just a professional form of combat, as anyone can pick up the gloves and begin training to become fitter, stronger, and more proficient with their boxing skill. Hitting the boxing bags, or the focus mitts is only a small part of the training structure, as athletes will need to incorporate other aspects like evasive head movements into their training systems. Head movement boxing drills are all about being instinctive, and learning this dynamic structure takes time, and dedication to the art. Athletes will need to be extremely motivated, and consistent to training if they are to increase their skill, and become more proficient in boxing.
THE BOXING ART
Boxing has been around since the beginning of man, and the evolution of this combative form has gone from brutality all the way to becoming an influential, and reputable Martial Art. Boxing has become an Olympic sport, and a multi billion dollar commercial enterprise, and with the calibre of fighters that have been bred, it's no wonder it is still the most popular form of combat in America, and perhaps the world. The first aspect that is worthy to note is a boxer's stance, and they will commonly switch from boxing southpaw vs orthodox. The orthodox stance is the main stance in a boxer's arsenal, and involves standing with their feet a shoulder's width apart, with their left foot slightly forward, and their left hand forward to be used as a jab. Their right foot is slightly backwards, and their right hand is also back ready to be used as the power punch. The southpaw stance is the complete opposite, as the right hand, and foot are placed forward, and this is the common stance for a left hander.
Boxers will always start with a series of boxing warm up drills before they move onto other exercises. using a series of dynamic technical skills like lateral, diagonal, and evasive footwork are always incorporated into their training structures. Athletes will always weigh up their speed and their power ratio, as they attempt to combine a balance of both. Evasive head movements like slipping punches, rolling under punches, changing levels, or switching stances are extremely important during a boxing fight. A boxer will always train their level of agility so they can execute a high calibre of movements to infiltrate, and escape the range of their opponents. Punching fluency is one of the most important aspects for a boxer, and training their accuracy, and their coordination by running through combinations on the focus mitts is crucial to the success of the athlete. A powerful punch is also important to a boxer, and developing the ability to dish out a knockout blow is another pivotal cog in the wheel of boxing.
All boxing athletes utilise shadow boxing as a way to enhance their ability when they are inside of the ring. A shadow boxing exercise incorporates athletes to dance around their ring using good evasive footwork, while throwing combinations into the air. The key to this drill is visualisation, as athletes will need to pretend they are punching at an imaginary opponent. This is a great way to adapt their fighting style, and begin to explore different ways that they can utilise their weapons. Shadow boxing is used for warming up, conditioning their cardiovascular system, and for working on many aspects of their boxing like creative footwork, punching fluency, hand and eye coordination, balance, posture, speed, and agility
WHAT IS A HEAD MOVEMENT DRILL
A head movement drill in boxing is an exercise that incorporates athletes maneuvering their head, so they can either evade an opponent's strike, or open up an avenue to attack. Head movements are extremely important in boxing, and using them effectively can alter the outcome of a fight. Athletes will commonly slip punches by using lateral head movements, and this is a great way to open up an opponent for a counter attack. Some of the greatest fighters of all time like Mohammed Ali, Roy Jones Jr, Floyd Mayweather, and Sugar Ray Leonard have all showcased their ability to use head movements to infiltrate their opponent's space. Using decisive head movements can trick an opponent into going one way, and then allowing the athlete to step in the opposite direction to access an array of counter punch measures.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOTWORK IN BOXING
Boxing matches are extremely dynamic, and incorporate athletes to use high levels of strength and conditioning. A common trait in boxing is to be exceptionally fit, and this is a component that can be used to the advantage of an athlete, against an opponent. Outmaneuvering an opponent is all about strategy, and knowing how to conserve energy can be highly instrumental. It is important that an athlete knows how to position themselves, and by using perfect timing, and a strategic mindset, this will determine how well placed their footwork will be. Footwork goes hand in hand with head movement, as they both are symbolic in serving a greater purpose in boxing.
Being capable of landing the knockout punch can only be facilitated by using strategic footwork, and evasive head movement. This is one of the most fundamental values of boxing, and when athletes combine both of these elements, their boxing skill becomes far more dangerous. Footwork, and head movement are a part of boxing defense drills, and athletes that develop these systems will be more capable of getting in range of their opponent. What is even more important than moving into range, is getting out of range when an opponent counter strikes, and using slick footwork, and good head movement can help athletes be extremely evasive in the heat of the battle.
HEAD MOVEMENT DRILLS
There are a diverse range of head movement drills that can benefit boxing athletes. Accessing boxing mitt drills, and practicing combinations, while ducking their head is a crucial part of the boxing process. All trainers will shout out combinations, and then throw in random punches, and this will enable the athlete to practice how to slip a punch, roll under a punch by using good head movements. Athletes can also use their head as a way to fake their opponents, and when they move in one direction, the athlete can use a different direction to attack from.
Boxing bags are another good method of utilising head movement drills, and the heavy bag can be a good way to circle in and out of range, while using good head movements, and practicing powerful punches at the same time. Changing levels and stepping into range of the bag is how an athlete can master their head movements. Another good boxing bag drill is by using the double ended bag, and this is a smaller bag held up on both ends by elastic. Athletes will practise combinations, and when the bag flings back at them, they will use head movements to slip punches, and utilise counterpunch tactics. All forms of head movement can be extremely productive for athletes, especially when they are inside the middle of the boxing ring.
One of the best drills for practising head movements is shadow boxing. This is a drill that requires athletes to explore their footwork in a solo drill, as they throw punches at an imaginary opponent. Shadow boxing is an iconic form of training that all athletes will integrate into their training systems. Shadow boxing will help athletes perfect their head movements, and will also help with the cohesion between all elements of boxing including their footwork, their punching fluency, their cardiovascular ability, their strength and conditioning, their hand and eye coordination, their flexibility, and their posture. All of the greatest athletes of all time use shadow boxing as a pivotal part of their training development.
BUILDING A GOOD FIGHT STANCE
The importance of a good fight stance is an important aspect that all athletes need to develop. All athletes need to have a structured, and systematic approach to how they fight an opponent. A good fight stance can go a long way to helping an athlete become more proficient in boxing skills. There are many different fight stances that athletes can utilise, and it takes some trial and error to see which one is best suited to an athlete. The most traditional style of fight stance is called the orthodox stance, where the athlete will stand with their left foot forward, their right foot slightly backwards, with their left hand forward to be the jab hand, and their right hand cocked back guarding their chin, to be the power punch.
The southpaw stance is basically a mirror image of the orthodox stance, and is predominantly used by left handed athletes. Other athletes will often switch between the orthodox, and the southpaw stance to distract their opponent, and force them to alter their game plan. A good fight stance incorporates a balanced weight distribution between both of an athlete's legs, and both of their hands up guarding their chin, with their elbows protecting their ribs. This is extremely important for a solid defense, but still to be in a good position where they can attack from. All athletes need to light on their feet so they can pivot and move quickly around the ring.
There are other stances that athletes can master, and the hands down stance is one that is commonly used in boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. This requires an athlete to bait their opponents by keeping their hands by their side, and this can tempt an opponent to attack when they did not plan to. Athletes use this tactic as a way to get inside their opponents heads. Peek a boo boxing training is another great way to build a stance that is defensive, but can still dominate an opponent in the middle of the ring. Any stance that an athlete will choose can be extremely effective, as long as they put in extensive hours into perfecting their evasive movements, and their attacking movements.
There are a number of different ways that an athlete can enhance their skills in boxing. All competitive athletes need to be fit, and strong, and conditioning the body is a crucial element in the fight game. Athletes can utilise weight lifting to increase their strength, or they can use kettlebell exercises, which is a more portable workout tool. Ideally increasing strength in combat sports should be functional, and this is why athletes will engage in some old school tactics like simple lunging exercises, squats, squat jumps, push ups, sit ups, and pull ups. Another important training function is to build up an athlete's cardiorespiratory endurance, and this can be done by pure running, sprinting, swimming, skipping, shadow boxing, and doing rounds on the bag, or against a training partner in a full contact sparring session.
Shadow boxing is one of the best training workouts for boxing and martial arts like kick boxing, kung fu, and karate. Shadow boxing is a great functional way that an athlete can fine tune all of their boxing skills. This type of workout can be broken up into sections, where an athlete can focus on their footwork, and use it to move in and out of range of their opponents. They can also incorporate evasive maneuvers like slipping punches, rolling under punches, changing levels, or lateral and diagonal shuffling. Good shadow boxing techniques will help an athlete work on their fluency of punching, as well as their speed, and the cohesion between their footwork, and how they generate enough rotational power in their hips for their punches.
Hitting the focus mitts is one of the most important aspects of becoming a competent boxer. Hitting these pads can not be done as a solo drill, and all boxing athletes need a good boxing trainer that knows how to hold the pads. A good trainer will not only call out different combinations for a boxer to hit, they will also throw in their own strikes which will enable the athlete to use their evasive skills to duck underneath, and then throw counter strikes. The focus mitts are used to work on an athlete's speed of punching, their accuracy of punching, and even the power within their combination punches. These types of punching drills can also be utilised on the boxing bag, and athletes will generally work on their power on the heavy bag, work on their evasive movements, and counter striking on the double ended bag, and their speed and timing on the speed bag. These are all extremely important boxing tools that will help an athlete become proficient in the art of boxing.
Another extremely important training measure is for athletes to engage in full contact sparring. Even though this can be dangerous, due to an athlete sustaining injuries, or being locked into a battle of ego between them and their training partners, the act of full contact sparring is as close as they will get to a real life boxing match. It is important to get a taste of what it feels like to be in the middle of the ring, and training against another high level boxing training partner will help an athlete adapt their game style into a more structured, and systematic form of striking. Full contact sparring can have two different levels, with the first being an extremely light form so athletes can work on their game style, while the other being extremely brutal, and will simulate real conditioning in a real fight.
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