How to improve footwork??

First off I'll say I'm an MMA fighter... I'll admit my prior ignorance by stating that I never thought much of footwork when it comes to MMA. I know that range is hugely important but have never given much thought on how to improve footwork to take advantage of range.

A lot of people in MMA have their own style. Normally I've been someone that gets the takedown and beats someone on the ground, but I really want to start using my punching more on the feet. The problem that arises is that I constantly smother my own strikes, I square up and even out my stance too much, and am just plain clumsy on my feet. I am shorter than most so I try to get inside, but when I do, I too much inside. I work with a boxing coach, and when we do pads and such my footwork seems alright, but it falls apart in sparring, I lunge too much, etc.

What are some good solo drills to improve footwork, other than shadowboxing. The reason I say other than shadow boxing is that I don't think I am acting and reacting realistically when I shadowbox.

Thanks in advance.


Jumping rope is the easiest way to effectively work on your footwork. Look, there are some simple things you can do to fix footwork issues. The first is to jump rope, also watch yourself in the mirror. Practive stepping, your feet should always be underneath your chest. If you step forward, your back foot needs to slide immediately behind your lead. Vice versa for stepping back (never go straight back, but rather at an angle.) Sideways steps are easy, just remember the foot that you lead with is the closest to the direction you are moving. (Circling left, lead with the left foot). You can also tie a rope between your legs at the appropriate distance if you are spreading your feet too far.

All that will be helpful. However, if the issue is balance, and smothering your shots, my guess is you are making a few common fundemental mistakes.

1.) you are standing too square. Make certain you are
at the appropriate angle with your feet and that your hips are in line with your feet.

2.) You aren't bending your knees. Don't stand up so tall. The more you bend your knees, the better power you'll get in your shots. Just remember to keep your feet under your chest.

3.) Your posture is bad. Keep your back straight, bend at your knees and not at the waist. Turn your shoulder over and pivot off your feet. Your hips should turn.

Try this drill, its easy, but it won't feel right if you are off balance. Stand in your boxing stance, step forward with your front foot. At the same time you step, you bob to your right. (Assuming you are an orthodox fighter). As you bob inside, feel the front of your left foot "tap" the floor with the right part of the ball of your left foot. (Hope I'm not making this sound too complicated, but it'll be easy if you just walk through it.) Next, bob back to your left, stepping again, but step with your toe about an inch to the left, touching down the left part of your left foot. Bring the right sliding directly behind. Step foward in this fashion, bobing, weaving and stalking in a straight line. After you get this, try to do the same drill moving backward. (But still doing the "tapping" movement with the front foot while stepping with the back.)

Hope this helps some, let me know if not and I'll see what else I can help with if possible.


That is a tough one to do over the internet. Without getting too specific, you have to drill going forward, backward, side to side and at an angle, forward to both sides and backwards to both sides. You can be stepping through or shuffling. And that is just the basics.

Footwork is definitely under-rated as a skill.

After you follow e.laye's suggestions, try learning to tango or for me : )

Thanks guys I'll try it out.... luchador, I'm quite the salsa and merengue dancer ;)

ha, it's actually odd cuz I dance FAR more graceful and flowing than I fight.