Trainer Talk: On Your Toes or Off?

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Being on your toes can be a waste of energy depending on the individual style. Footwork should always change in a fight – going from bouncing to toes to flat feet throughout a fight. Being on the toes, otherwise known as bouncing, is a boxer’s rhythm, and it has only two uses: to change rhythm confusing the opponent, or to be quick to advance or retreat. When someone says you should “always be on your toes,” it’s a misnomer that means to be on the move. Otherwise, it’s misinformation if it was meant literally, even if it is meant “to be on the balls of your feet.” Being on your toes throughout a fight can be just as bad as being on your heels for an entire fight; if it’s predictable, if the other guy gets used to it, or if it impedes your offense, it’s bad. And a person always moves to the toes, even if the step is on the heel first. There is nothing wrong with stepping on your heel. You aren’t supposed to tiptoe to have good movement. That’s just not economical. It would be a waste of energy and could take away from your power. Remember, when you throw a punch, your weight must shift and one heel has to go down. Where’s your weight? Fighting with the rear heel up is also known as fighting off the front foot. This is generally a defensive posture. This is how the Mayweathers teach their boxers. You could throw rear punches quicker this way, but generally with not as much explosiveness and power. A balanced stance with slightly more weight on the rear leg is conventional or some would say “old school.” Old timers fought this way so they could explode forward with punches. This posture is more fit for mma, too, due to shoots and kicks and the front leg not being so vulnerable. Still, whether you’re pivoting or your rear heal is up or not, it’s all just “indication of where the weight is.” You can pick your heel up and have most of your weight on the ball of that foot, but there would be no reason to do that. And when you punch, pivoting is only an indication that your hip is coming out properly and that most of your weight should be shifting off the pivoting foot depending on how hard the punch is thrown. Just like everything else, mix it up and don’t get stuck on one set way for your footwork.

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