Boxing training incorporates far more than punching drills. One of my favourite aspects of boxing/combat sports training is the footwork. When an athlete has great footwork it shows mastery of their center of gravity. We use this term often in the Parisi nation when discussing change of direction. Footwork drills accompanied by shadow boxing or hitting the mitts is the equivalent of change of direction for field and court athletes.
The famous words, “Float like a Butterfly,” offers an amazing visual to describe how a fighter’s feet should glide and hydroplane across the floor. POW! Gym Chicago, the home of the Chicago Parisi Speed School, teaches footwork as a key component in their boxing program. Both kids and adults experience various drills to develop their technical and natural footwork skills.
Footwork drills serve as a great form of sport-specific conditioning. Even when you are new to boxing, the constant challenge to move your feet will elevate your heart rate. Footwork training can also improve punching stamina and speed. Footwork and active defense will always prove to be more challenging than sitting in front of a bag and throwing punches. The most challenging elements of any sport are footwork and defense. I always reference basketball when explaining the value of footwork. Anyone can sit on the free-throw line and eventually shoot 10 for 10. This is not an indication that you can play basketball. If you can pop a free throw off, after moving down the court against other players and make the basket 10 for 10, then you have some well-rounded skills.
I use all different kinds of cones, cups, and discs to play with footwork. I do this to keep training challenging and gamify aspects of the training that many people do not like to practice. This is an old video below from the old POW! Gym location. It was inspired by Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks who performed a far superior task that resembles this concept.