Good Article on Shadowboxing
Shadow Boxing -- by George Smith
Although boxing training has undergone some advancements in the past 100 years, there are a few sacred routines that not only shouldn't be, but can't be, replaced. Shadowboxing has been an essential aspect of every successful boxer's training-more out of respect for tradition than a legitimate recognition of all the power that this seemingly simple exercise contains.
Too many boxers approach shadowboxing as a mindless "warning-up" exercise. They simply go through the motions, stab at the air and shake off the city dust before moving onto the "real workout" on the bags.
True, shadowboxing is a great way to warm-up, but it should be included and approached as a part of the workout not a pre-workout routine. Shadowboxing, while one of the more primitive drills that make up a boxer's workout, is also one of the more progressive and advanced exercises that can be done. Its most important attribute is that it requires, when done properly, visualization. Once the gloves are on, and there's a bag or a sparring partner in front of you, your imagination gives way to execution.
The less pressured atmosphere of shadowboxing allows you to concentrate wholly on yourself - how you are putting your punches together, how you are reacting to your imaginary opponent, how a perfectly thrown left hook really feels and how a well-balanced stance affects the delivery of your punches. These are all things that you can "take stock of" as you perform your shadowboxing exercises. Taking the time to construct an imaginary boxing match situation without actually making contact with anything or getting hit in return allows all of your focus to be placed on what you are doing, how your body feels and how you can fulfill your ideal plan.
Once you're in the ring, you will be confronted by different opponents who will use many different styles and techniques to try to impose their will on you. If you've already seen this guy in your mind, played these situations out and predicted your reactions as you shadowboxed, that puts you one step and one punch ahead of your opponent. As you visualize your bout taking place, there are several technical elements that should be incorporated to get the most out of shadowboxing. Think in terms of combination punching. Without the resistance of a bag or the impact of hitting an opponent to affect your punches, this is the time to concentrate on the importance of throwing more than one shot at a time.
Taking this approach will create a good habit of punching in combinations. It will also help you to become more fluid in your delivery and create better balance between your footwork and hand activity. Don't throw a meaningless punch. Without an opponent to fend off or a bag to react to, you have the luxury of time and clear thinking to concentrate on the punches you throw. Tossing a lazy jab or a slapping right hand out doesn't help you in the ring, so don't do it in training.
Being economical and meaningful with your punches will allow you to last longer and be more active in the ring. Vary your speed. Changing your intensity, your hand speed and the force of your punches will increase the conditioning benefits of your shadowboxing routine and will also reflect a more realistic boxing situation. Don't forget defense. It is always the first to go. Practicing defensive moves-slipping, ducking, parrying punches-is not as fun or glamorous as throwing that big right hand, but it's much more glamorous than getting knocked on your butt.
Be creative. Every champion wins the fight in his mind before he gets into the ring. Work at creating different scenarios, different types of opponents, new fight plans and strive to execute them to perfection. Three minutes of shadowboxing lasts 180 seconds regardless of what you do with it, so have fun and make each movement of the hand count for something. Shadowboxing is not a throw-away exercise to be tagged on at the beginning or end of your workout just to complete your routine. It should be used to set the tone and intensity of what the rest of your workout will be. It should also finish the session to pull together all that you learned that day and help solidify it all in your mind.
It all comes back to this - The fundamentals aren't basic if they help you to improve.
If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.