The benefits of shadowboxing, a fundamental revisited

In early June, 2008 Manny Pacquiao was on hand for a meet and greet luncheon held on the 15th floor of the Cox Communications Building in downtown San Diego. He was there to promote his upcoming PPV Fight at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 28, against David Diaz for the WBC World Lightweight Title.

In basic terms, shadowboxing has you punching the air and moving around practicing boxing drills and pretending to defend against an attacker. You can use the exercise in a number of ways. Below are nine shadowboxing drills.

1. Movement shadowboxing

When you begin to practice your moves while shadowboxing, you start by not throwing any punches.  Your goal is to concentrate on how you’re moving about in your boxing stance.  Move forward, backward, side to side, pivot, hop, pendulum step, etc. The idea is to develop your footwork. Once you’re comfortable with the movement, add punches, remembering the


focus is still on movement. Visualize how your feet are turning and moving in relation to the punches you’re throwing.

2. Pivot and T Frame Shadowboxing

In this round of shadowboxing, your focus is on maintaining the T Frame, keeping your shoulders above your knees and pivoting correctly while throwing punches. You can move around all you want, throw whatever you want, but at all times, focus on the pivot and T-Frame.

3. Shadowboxing with your mouthpiece

Train how you fight is the motto. When you incorporate the mouthguard into your training, you’re experiencing how breathing is going to be against an opponent.

4. Shadowbox combinations

Each round, the focus switches beginning with the 1-2 combinations. The boxer spends the entire round throwing technically correct jabs followed by straight rights (or lefts for the southpaws).  The next round they switch to 1-2-3 combinations and so on. The key is to focus on drilling a specific combination for the entire round.

5. Slow Motion shadowboxing

Do everything deliberately in slow motion concentrating on perfect technique. This will show you the mechanics behind a certain combination or punch and allow you to correct the little things – foot off center, not enough pivot, weight distribution, etc.

6. Shadowboxing an opponent

The opponent is yourself and this is where the mirror helps. Having the boxer box himself shows him where his weaknesses are. He can see when he’s leaving his head open or if his punches are off target. He can see if he’s bending his knees fully when going down for a body shot or if his slips are crisp, clean, and fast. Boxing in a mirror shows you what your opponent sees and therefore what you need to fix.

7. Shadowboxing for Speed

Shadowboxing for speed means the boxer throws as many punches as he can in the span of the round. These should be technically correct punches. The real aim is to let the hands fly and count how many punches they can throw in three minutes. It’s best to track this so the boxer can attempt to beat whatever he did the last time. Being able to throw 250-300 punches in three minutes is a good goal to work towards.

8. Shadowboxing free for alls

Picture an opponent and move, punch, and defend against what he is doing to you. It takes an imagination, but if you can picture yourself hitting someone and then reacting to whatever they do, you’ll engrain it in your head that much quicker. This is where the real implantation happens from learning a skill to putting it in your arsenal. When you can visualize a scenario in vivid detail and respond without hesitation, you’ll have that skill with you in the ring.  It’s kind of like learning a second language.  Experts say that once you begin dreaming in that language, you’re well on your way to becoming fluent.

9. Shadowboxing with weights

Hold small dumbbells or weights in either hand as you shadowbox. The added weight will not only aid in simulating a ring situation as you put on the 10-16oz gloves, but the increased weight will help strengthen and develop your shoulders and increase your speed when you aren’t holding the weights.

When to shadowbox? Every chance you get. The more you shadowbox, the quicker the drills and techniques are going to be implanted in your head and become instinct.

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