Advanced Boxing Footwork – The Stance Switch

by Fran on December 16, 2014

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I consider the following boxing footwork drill to be something that an intermediate to advanced boxer should build into the skill set.

If you are a regular visitor to the site, and especially if you are a member of The Boxing Training Foundation, you will know that I am pretty fanatical about boxing footwork drills. My years of experience have taught me that they work like a charm and this drill is no different in it's effectiveness.

When we talk about switching the stance in boxing, most people think purely about switching from orthodox to southpaw and vice versa. That is of course the most obvious stance switch and I will cover it in this video (well I will cover one method of doing it, as with most things in this wonderful world of boxing there are many ways to switch southpaw to orthodox.)

The boxing stance switch that I am going to demonstrate in the video is a very specific type of stance switch - it is a stance switch that is designed specifically for setting up massive hooks and uppercuts. After watching this video and working the drill yourself you will be switching and hitting in Mike Tyson style in no time at all 🙂

I will demonstrate two stance switches:

  • Orthodox to Orthodox
  • Orthodox to Southpaw

Here's the video. Please post any questions or comments below the article. By the way, the video is 15 minutes long. I know this is a bit lengthy, but I wanted to make sure I got the right level of detail for you

 

Using the Boxing Stance Switch

This type of stance switch is all about opening up angles of attack to deliver hooks and uppercuts. You need to be very careful about when you use it. I generally advise the consideration of 3 basic rules:

  • This stance switch is ideal for use at close to mid range. That is, when you are 'in the pocket' and up close and personal. It is an excellent tactic to use when infighting, and again I'm sure that if you ever watch Mike Tyson in his awesome prime he opened up many an unfortunate opponent in this way.
  • Use it 'off a trigger'. By this I mean you can set this up off a feint, a punch or a blocking move (like the one I demonstrate in the video).
  • This boxing stance switch is generally not for use at long range, except against an advancing opponent. If you use this switch against a static opponent at long range then there is every chance that you will simply eat punches. If however the opponent is coming toward you at speed (or the heavy bag is coming toward you at speed) then you can switch at the right time to use the momentum of the opponent to increase the power of your shots. Catch them once like this and they will think twice before rushing you again.

 

The Mechanics of the Stance Switch

Orthodox to Orthodox

  1. Initiate the switch by driving an explosive push from the ball of the front foot, pushing to the rear.
  2. At the same time, 'pull' the back leg forward.
  3. The upper body follows.
  4. You end up in a position at right-angle to your opponent, ready to let your shots go.

Orthodox to Southpaw

  1. Initiate the switch by driving an explosive push from the ball of the back foot, pushing forwards.
  2. At the same time, 'pull' the front leg back.
  3. The upper body follows.
  4. You end up in a position at right-angle to your opponent but in a southpaw stance…and ready to let your shots go 🙂

 

Common Faults with the Stance Switch

As with all of the boxing footwork drills (and indeed any other type of drills) I always like to explain some of the common faults that occur.

  1. Don't jump and spin. Explode from the feet and look to get them into the final position as quickly as possible. You need to try to avoid being airborne - leave that for gymnasts and dancers.
  2. Make sure that your guard stays solid. If your guard becomes loose you open yourself up to big shots. Ensure especially that your side exposed to the opponent has that guarding arm nice and high.
  3. As mentioned previously, don't do this switch at long range against a static opponent. The best that can happen is that you look a bit silly, the worst that can happen is that you can eat a bunch of long range shots.
  4. Make sure that you use this switch at speed and with aggression. Work the basic drill at a steady speed, but when executing this at fight time (or during shadow boxing and heavy bag) be explosive.
  5. Make sure that you throw a shot, if you don't it's just a waste of time and effort!

 

Stance Switch Examples

These are what I go through in the video. Remember that when you switch from orthodox to southpaw your 'lead hand' becomes your 'back hand' and vice versa.

Orthodox to Orthodox

  1. Switch - Lead hand hook to the head
  2. Switch - lead hand hook to the body - lead hand hook to the head
  3. Switch - lead hand hook to the body - lead hand uppercut to the head

Orthodox to Southpaw

  1. Switch - lead hand hook to the body - lead hand uppercut to the head
  2. Switch - lead hand uppercut to the head - back hand hook to the head
  3. lead hand hook to the body - switch - lead hand hook to the body

 

I hope that you have enjoyed the video. And remember, if you have any comments or questions then let me know below.

Cheers

Fran

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob August 1, 2016 at 2:24 am

Hi Fran

Great video.. but while watching it somebody broke into my house and stole my TV. Bloody scouser… Give it back!

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Fran August 6, 2016 at 11:38 am

Haha, good stuff – not very original though Rob…keep on trying 🙂

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Tommy G February 2, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Great article Fran. I’ve just been watching Mike Tyson’s 6th round KO of Pinklon Thomas in 1987 on youtube. It’s the most brutal and efficient knock-out sequence I’ve ever seen. And ALL delivered from the southpaw stance. I highly recommend anyone who has just read this article go see it and witness the stance switch in all its ferocious glory!

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Fran February 5, 2015 at 8:51 pm

Agreed Tommy. That was easily one of Tyson’s most complete performances topped off with a devastating final salvo. Glad I stayed awake for that one when it was on good old fashioned terrestrial TV 🙂

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Mikey January 18, 2015 at 6:24 am

Great lesson coach, many thanks. It does feel a bit awkward punching and moving when in the southpaw stance so I’m guessing that after you move into the southpaw stance and throw a few punches you don’t want to stay in close very long and ? So what would your advice be as how to get back into the orthodox stance? It might be risky switching from southpaw to orthodox close in so do you have to move out of range before doing it? Need to practice moving bakwards in the southpaw stance also..

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Fran January 20, 2015 at 9:26 pm

Thanks Mikey.

I often like to see boxers switch back by throwing the southpaw back hand and letting the back foot follow through to become the front foot. Remember though that you are at close range here so you can be very basic and straightforward about it as long as the guard is tight. Hope this helps.

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Mikey January 21, 2015 at 6:33 am

Top Tip. I did think the idea of moving backwards (probably quite slowly as it’s unnatural for an orthodox boxer) in the southpaw stance was a bit suspect. Thanks coach

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Mikey January 21, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Oh I forgot to ask! As you say the back foot follows through to become the front foot.
But does the original front foot in the southpaw stance go backwards to where the back foot was? Or does it stay in the same position? Hope that makes sense! Thanks coach.

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Fran January 22, 2015 at 10:02 pm

Either or Mikey. Holding the original front foot means you are taking ground, switching it to the back foot means you hold the ground. Take your pick 🙂

Mikey January 24, 2015 at 6:02 am

Thanks coach. I’ll give it a go next time I’m down the gym!

Rob D January 3, 2015 at 7:16 pm

Top video. cheers Fran.
Technical question here. Is it possible to incorporate a duck movement (to avoid oncoming head shots) whilst performing the stance switch? Or can you only duck when you move one foot at a time? thanks Fran,

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Fran January 9, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Hey Rob

Not sure on the 2nd bit, but you could perform the stance switch then duck to add power to a body shot. This is an aggressive movement to open up an attack so I’d not complicate it with a duck during.

Hope this helps.

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Rob D January 10, 2015 at 12:16 pm

cheers Fran, reading back my question I didn’t explain it very well I think. 2nd attempt then so here goes!
If I’m moving say to my right after a combo I would move my right foot first followed by my left foot to recover my stance. When I’m doing this I also incorporate a ducking movement to avoid oncoming headshots.
But in the slick stance switch moves you demonstrate in the video both feet move simultaneously. So is it feasible to incorporate a similar ducking movement when the feet move at the same time?

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Fran January 13, 2015 at 9:46 pm

It’s worth a go Rob. If you can get it to feel comfortable and you don’t expose yourself to unnecessary risk for no benefit then give it a go.

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Rob D January 15, 2015 at 12:06 pm

cheers Fran, after trying it out myself I reckon you can’t duck and comeback up again and ‘catch up’ with the quick simultaneous foot movement. There simply isn’t enough time to duck and come back up again and the foot movement to rapid. I stand to be corrected upon this of course. The only alternative I can see would be to duck first, stay down, and then move both feet simultaneously.

Darren Harris December 29, 2014 at 11:01 am

Great video, much appreciated.
But Wow, it feels strange punching from the southpaw stance though, I’d never tried it before and it felt like I’d never thrown a punch before – off balance, real slow hands, awkward feet, little power, etc.

Do you think perhaps it may be a good idea to punch southpaw every now and again now to even up your ‘body mechanics’ if that makes any sense! And that this might improve your punching prowess when you go back top your normal orthodox stance?

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Fran January 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Practice with this Darren and each day it will become a little more familiar. Obviously it will always feel more ‘comfortable’ in your dominant stance but it will gradually become more effective and familiar with repetition.

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Chris December 28, 2014 at 8:36 pm

That is one excellent video.

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Fran January 1, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Cheers Chris, glad it helps.

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Francisco Angel Nazario December 28, 2014 at 4:46 am

Fran

This is a very important and great lesson however, as a trainer must say you have great teaching points of reference and great teaching skills, I love the fact of the 90 degree change I thought it was a lost art or a myth between trainers to teach this exchange on switch stand but I guess you make me feel not at lost as I thought I was, thanks for your teachings and keep up the great work my friend.

Sincerely,

Francisco Angel Nazario

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Fran January 1, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Thank you Francisco, those are very kind and supportive words especially coming from a fellow coach.

Cheers

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Paul_S December 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Beautiful lesson, Coach.
I like how the sudden shifts can be utilised to catch the opponent when he’s coming in, thus bridging the gap and doing half the work for me allowing my punch to have maximum effect. The use of these shifts would be great when one finds themselves against the ropes……For example, the orthodox to southpaw shift followed by right and left hooks and uppercuts is what Tyson used to K.O. Buster Mathis Jr. — Very nice!

Thank you and Merry Christmas. 🙂

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Fran December 27, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Thanks Paul. Glad that it hot the spot 🙂 A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.

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Johnny December 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Brilliant video, I love it.
Here’s a (probably) stupid question though. In the 2nd example i.e. the orthodox to southpaw stance switch you are effectively moving your body position 90 degrees clockwise with respect to your opponent. Is there a reason why you can’t push from the backfoot (like as in an angled side step) and move your body 90 degrees clockwise but keep in the orthodox stance? I hope that makes sense! I suppose it might be a slower manouevre than what you have demonstrated or something?

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Fran December 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm

That’s doable Johnny, but don’t forget by staying orthodox you are putting your opponent into the ‘safe zone’ – that’s the area I talk about in the report Southpaw Versus Orthodox Explained.

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Will December 21, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Nice vid Fran, your switch stances look very similar to Tyson/D’Amato, springs and twists, which I’m a big fan of. What do you think about a dip on the transition, if the 1st shot is a body shot, I like the head to be lower for the execution, adding a bit of extra torque from the coiling and helping evade any incoming head shots especially hooks

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Fran December 22, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Yes Will, absolutely. When firing body shots I like to see a drop in the level of the head – much better outcome and as you say makes you a harder target.

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Pooj December 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Hi Fran, great work, I have a feeling that I’m going to be using this quite a bit in the future.

I’ve got a rotator cuff injury to my left shoulder at the moment, so I’m taking this as an opportunity to really concentrate on getting my footwork slick. It’s good to have things to work with that help toward that end.

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Fran December 22, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Keep working hard Pooj. Cheers for the comment.

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Ed Stanley December 19, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Hi Fran,

Another brilliant, insightful video from yourself. I really appreciate the time and effort that you put into your videos. I find them extremely helpful (especially as you meticulously go through all the coaching points to ensure all bases for learning are catered for).

Thanks again,

Ed

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Fran December 19, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Hello Ed

Thanks very much mate, that really means a lot. I do put a lot of thought into the presentation of the information so that it covers the ground in the right way and that takes time. It’s great that folks like you can see and appreciate that.

Cheers for the comment Ed.

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Daniel Downs December 18, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Hi Fran, another great article and video. (as always)
On the subject of advanced footwork i was just wondering what your take on shifting was. I have always been told to be careful when swapping stance for obvious reasons but after a little enlightenment i’ve noticed that some of the very best out there today participate in this practice quite a lot. Golovkin, froch to name but a few.
your take please

Yours in sport
Dan Downs

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Fran December 19, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Hello Dan

That’s a hell of a question and an awful lot of typing 🙂 I will arrange a video of some sort to talk about some aspects of it. If a boxer can do it at the right time, and is comfortable and competitive in either stance, then it is something that will bring benefits – undoubtedly. Key for me is making sure that more subtle tactics like ring control change with the stance as opposed to just changing for changing sake.

Hope this is clear

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Terry December 17, 2014 at 8:33 am

G/day Fran,This is a great clip mate.We do alot of this type of stuff and find it really usefull for opening up the hard to get at fellows.You can get great leverage on your left rips to the body (hook to you?)and left hooks and uppercuts as well in the orthodox stance.I found it very interesting how you changed to the southpaw stance Fran.We do it a little bit differently and use the lead hand and then the rear hand as we bump across from leg to leg but still stay sort of in the orthodox stance althought fairly square I suppose. (probably need my own video to show you as I’m not explaining too well) I will have to introduce it to Simon and Anthony in the New Year and see how they adapt to it.I hope you have a great Christmas mate and look forward to some more articles next year.I should have a copy of the Auckland fightnight next week so will try to put it up somewhere for you to have a look at Fran.Catch you mate.

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Fran December 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Thanks Terry

Makes your boxer a whole lot more dangerous up close, I love this type of move.

Thanks for the comment mate.

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Sean Tynan December 17, 2014 at 12:50 am

This episode is without a doubt the coolest, most slick set of techniques I’ve seen on the site. I can’t stop watching it , and thinking about all the possible applications of the stance-switch.

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Fran December 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Excellent Sean – fill your boots mate 🙂

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James Morgan December 17, 2014 at 12:35 am

Beautiful work! Very Lomachenko, that’s definitely going in the toolbag.

Great hip movement. I can see endless variation of keeping the opponent offset and confused. Think this is going to be one of my favourites! Interesting to see how this will differ from my pivots. Awesome instruction Fran, thank you.

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Fran December 17, 2014 at 8:39 pm

You’re welcome James. Thank you very much for the feedback

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Ramiro December 16, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Great, great, great!

Excelente Maestro!
Your footwork is amazing.
Please ¿can you teach some footwork exercises?

Thanks a lot coach!

Sigue con tu gran trabajo!!!

Ramiro.

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Fran December 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Thank you very much Ramiro :-). I shall indeed keep up the hard work!!!

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Fran January 15, 2015 at 9:07 pm

…or maybe switch then duck. Cool that you are analysing in such a way though Rob, don’t get too wrapped up in it though – the beauty is in the attack 🙂

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