With no equipment and just your imagination, shadow boxing is a fun and effective training tool. It can be a warm-up, a cardio workout and a cool down for both body and mind. Your mind creates the roadmap for your body to follow.


While shadow boxing, you can play and practise with footwork, hand work, body and head movements. It is important to box with intention and visualise your opponent, their movements and where your punches are landing. Visualisation is a key part of performance preparation and shadow boxing creates a visual map for success. Make yourself the hero in the story!


At whatever level, start off with footwork. Ground your feet and establish your movements. The connection between lower and upper body will feel less forced or awkward by finding your feet first. In boxing all your power originates through your connection with the floor, so your footwork and positioning is critical. Your feet move you out of danger, as well positioning you for launching an attack.


Next up in the simulation, imagine using your head and body movements to be elusive, while also moving out of the way of oncoming punches, creating new angles of opportunity for you to attack and counter-punch. In order to move your body and head well without losing balance, you must first have a firm footing or solid centre of gravity through your connection with the floor.


Lastly - hand work. Your hands are your tools. They can be defensive and offensive, while also triggering false anticipation in your opponent. There are infinite combinations in boxing, but at whatever level you are keep your shadow boxing realistic. Those who know their way from one punch to the next with quick reflexes will be able to defend, move, and counterpunch seamlessly. Shadow boxing is a dress rehearsal, so keep it simple and practise throwing 3-4 punches in a row maximum. You are very rarely going to land more than 3 punches consecutively without a retaliation from your opponent, so get used to throwing and then moving two of the following three at the same time; head, hands and feet. As long as you are moving at least two of these three body parts at any given point in time; you will be very hard to hit.


Always shadow box with intent. Visualisation involves creating a mental image of what you "intend" to happen. Athletes use these skills to envision the outcome they are pursuing. Visualise your opponent, visualise your movement and visualise where your punches land. Visualise success.

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