Shadow boxing is often looked at as just a quick way to warm up before the actual boxing workout session. Shadow boxing no doubt serves to warm the body for the upcoming workout. More importantly though, shadow boxing helps you to groove the skills you have been taught by your boxing coach during your boxing training workouts. It also serves as a tool to hone your own unique fighting style. If you think it’s just throwing punches to break a sweat, you’re going about it the wrong way.
When you’re shadow boxing, It’s best to shadow box in front of a mirror where you can monitor the technique that has been taught to you. I often say…the mirror doesn’t lie. Once you know what to look for, it’s impossible to have bad technique in front of the mirror! Unless of course you just don’t care or aren’t really focusing and putting your all into it. Shadow boxing is when you can better groove the new skills your trainer has been teaching you. Skill retention is a lot better when you shadow box in front of the mirror, grooving good skill.
If you really focus on what you’re doing while shadow boxing, progression is heightened. Your boxing coach won’t have to yell at you so much to stop dropping your hands when you’re working the bags. He will be very pleased to see your fast progression due to your commitment to solid technique when shadow boxing. Boxers can say all they want that they have been putting in the extra work shadow boxing, but good technique will be the telling sign and truth to the coach that the fighter has indeed been putting in the work.
Great fighters will tell you that when they shadow box and move around they envision real situations that may come up in the ring. They think about another fighter being in front of them firing back and moving away. From offensive combos, to defensive tactics, all is covered. Boxers are continually focusing focusing on what an opponent can possibly do while shadow boxing. That is why some boxing coaches call shadow boxing shadow sparring. It actually looks like the boxer is sparring an invisible opponent.
Look at an experienced fighter’s body language and eyes when doing this. It shows they are in a different world. Indeed they are, a world where they see themselves dominating. You wonder why these fighters get so good? Because they see themselves doing it first. The mind can’t tell the difference from something it’s experiencing or imagining. That’s why this secret is so important to apply. Your boxing performance will improve very quickly when you practice shadow boxing in this manner.
Now think about that the next time you shadow box or shadow spar.
About the author: Rob Pilger is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Level II USA Boxing Coach.