The Shuffle Drill is an extreme boxing drill because it takes any new or intermediate boxing student to the limit of their cardio endurance capacity and works the upper and lower body. I implement the shuffle drill at the end of the first day of training in 1 on 1 personal boxing lessons.
Once a student is taught the jab and the cross, this drill can be part of a monthly workout to gauge the improvement in cardio endurance and ability to execute well-structured and fast punches.
The Shuffle Drill
The Instructor’s Equipment
- Heavybag or Mitts
The Student’s Equipment
- Boxing Gloves
Instructions: Create a physical line about 8 feet away from the heavy bag or the instructor to allow the boxing student to shuffle forward and backward to and from the target (heavy bag or mitts).
- The student will rapidly shuffle forward, jab the target one time – then shuffle back behind the line. This will be repeated with an increase in jabs each time until the student reaches 10 jabs in a row, then back down to 1 jab. (100 jabs total + 19 shuffles back and forth)
- Immediately, the student will begin the same shuffle pattern but execute a cross – one time. Then the student will shuffle back behind the line and proceed to shuffle forward and execute two crosses. Each punch should be fast and powerful without leaning forward, but rather rotating his/her torso for maximum power. (100 crosses total + 19 shuffles back and forth)
** 1-minute break **
- The last part repeats the same shuffle pattern, but the boxing student will execute a 1-2 punch using Jab-Cross in rapid succession. This pattern repeats, but the 1-2 punch should increase each time. As a coach, I count each combination as one. I loudly count each time the cross makes an impact on the heavy bag or boxing mitt.
This continues until the student reaches 10, which is a total of 20 punches for the last rep. (110 punches + 10 shuffles back and forth)
Most boxing combinations or bag work requires a single or double jab to be executed. Rarely are 3 jabs in a row ever thrown. Therefore, it takes pure will to execute 8, 9, or even 10 quality jabs in a row. The shoulder screams. The anterior deltoid beckons, “WHY?!” This is part of the fun.
While a heavyweight boxing title fight results in each fighter executing an average of 450 total punches, this drill requires 310 punches and 768 feet (256 yards – 2 1/2 football fields) of shuffling in less than 6 minutes. The image below shows the total punches thrown in a heavyweight title fight with Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder.
The shuffle drill is a fantastic drill for beginners and intermediate boxing students. It takes their cardio to a different limit than most are used to and allows them to practice something they have never done – throwing 310 well-structured punches in rapid succession in a short time period.
Students often communicate that their calves, not their shoulders are sore the next day. Yes, they have likely never punched like this before, but they certainly have never shuffled back and forth in this manner, which is important when on the attack or requiring movement away from an opponent.
Most students are concentrating on their motion, their cardio, and their punch technique – so forcing them to count is out of the question. YOU must do the counting and do so LOUDLY.
When the student shuffles back behind the line, Announce the next set they are required to throw. If they are on their 6th set of jabs, count loudly 1-2-3-4-5-6, then when they shuffle back to the line, SEVEN!
Constantly coaching and counting and instructing the student on punches returning to their face and not dropping their hands is important – you don’t want lazy punches to become a habit, even in the first lesson. Counting and coaching at the same time is a skill that takes practice. Do your best, but count loudly – they are “in their heads” talking to themselves about how difficult the task is… you must count louder than the voice in their head.