When it comes to boxing drills, they don’t come much purer than shadow boxing. Professional boxers understand the importance of shadow boxing and will complete hours upon hours of this as they build up and train for a fight.
The great thing about shadow training is that it’s accessible for all boxers, no matter what your ability – just like our philosophy here at VANDA Singapore. It’s simple nature and flexibility means the drills can be tailored to suit your own level and goals.
What is shadow boxing?
Shadow boxing is when a boxer moves around a ring, or any other area, on their own, throwing punches and combinations into the air. As the name suggests, traditional boxers would practice this as they looked at their shadow on the wall or, more commonly now, their reflection in the mirror. Visually tracking your movements gives useful feedback on technique and style, which is necessary to make adjustments and improvements. The beauty of shadowing is that you don’t need any equipment, just yourself, some imagination and a bit of space.
What type of shadow boxing should I practice?
Although shadow boxing may sometimes look a little haphazard to the untrained eye, serious boxers use it to practice set moves and integral techniques as they punch the air, shift their feet, move their head and twist their body.
It’s important to shadow box with a goal in mind. Remember, you can’t practice everything at once. A much more efficient way to practice a skill during a session is to choose one goal to train and repeat – otherwise you’ll be trying to master everything but achieve nothing.
As well as for warming up and warming down, shadow boxing drills can be shaped to train plenty of goals:
- Mental preparation
- Muscle conditioning
- Fight strategy
For beginners, shadow boxing is a great way to practice key techniques you’ve just learned in your boxing class, so you can then impress your coach the next time you’re in.
- Punch technique – from a relaxed position, accelerate your fist forward towards the target and breathe out, then bring your hand back to starting position. The trick here is to make use of your body’s trunk and core to make your punch more effective. Depending on your level, you can practice jabbing, straight right/left, hooks and uppercuts.
- Head movement – practice moving your head out of the way to slip those imaginary incoming shots. This is the bobbing and weaving part of boxing. Good head movement is also important to get you in a good position to throw a punch when you’re on the attack.
- Foot movement – from your natural stance, practice your forward and backward movement. When moving forward, step with your lead foot and drag the rear foot, this will help you keep balanced and a low centre of gravity. Also practice moving to the left and right, remembering not to shift your weight too quickly or leaning so you’re unbalanced.
If you’re at a higher level of training, the type of shadow boxing drills you complete become more advanced. Instead of basic technique, you’ll be dealing with different aspects such as defensive moves or certain positioning that you’ve not quite mastered. Technique is vital for any level and you can never practice enough. Other more advanced drills include:
- Combinations – to make any combination effective you need accuracy, power and speed. They can be thrown on the bag, on pads, when sparring and when your shadow boxing. The more advanced you are, the more advanced your combinations can get – you might be adding doubles, feints and mixing up your rhythm. This is also great for coordination.
- Fight strategy – here’s where you can use shadow boxing to work on vital moments to implement during a real fight scenario. Do you always get caught with a certain shot? Fail to move your opponent around the ring? Struggle with your positioning for a left hook? This is where you build new confidence, master key strategic points and turn them into muscle memory.
Shadow boxing is all about practice, practice, practice. Whether you’re fresh from your first boxing class or a seasoned boxer, shadow boxing has an important place in training for everyone. To focus your time more effectively, it’s vital that you pick a goal or something specific to train. Then make sure you get yourself down to the best boxing gym in Singapore – VANDA!