Agility can apply both to the mind and to the body – it is the ability to move quickly and easily, or to think and understand quickly. Physical agility involves balance, speed, strength and coordination. Mental agility involves the ability to problem solve, adapt to quickly changing situations, and think on your feet.
Here is a video of agility gone wrong, thanks to Prairie Crossfit and their bring-your-dog-to-class fundraiser. The video is of one of the owners and their dog.
One of the best ways to improve your brain’s function and to keep your memory sharp is by staying mentally active throughout your life. The biggest impact you can make is by learning something new and pushing your mental agility, outside of your comfort zone (another reason why continued education plays such a positive role in our lives). Basically, you want to exercise your brain as much as you exercise your body for optimal health and wellness. Consider “cross-training” your brain (engaging in different activities and skills) for the most benefit.
Melissa Eisler, a Certified Leadership & Career Coach, Yoga & Meditation Instructor, and Author of 5 Ways to Boost Your Memory and Mental Agility makes some recommendations in her article.
- Learn something new – the more outside of your current skills, the better
- Challenge yourself – something that involves multiples tasks, interaction, or organization are best (bonus points if it involves a social component!)
- Add variety to your routine – take a new route to work, eat your lunch outside in park instead of at your desk
- Increase your heart-rate – 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week is recommended (this could be 30 minutes of brisk walking on weeknights).
- Repeat daily – make sure to have short burst of mental exercise, every day!
Now, let’s bring this back to boxing!
Agility training in boxing helps improve defense skills by effectively avoiding incoming punches, while also countering with clean effective returned punches. Agility in boxing isn’t just a physical skill, it also requires mental quickness to make the right decisions in the ring. While we’ve already talked about ways to improve mental agility, let’s look at physical agility. Foot speed and leg strength, balance and coordination, and a mind-body connection are going to improve a boxer’s agility, while also reducing injuries. Having a mind-body connection means acting out of conscious thought vs natural instinct – making calculated decisions based on training and current conditions.
Some exercises that help develop agility include:
- jump rope drills – using both wrists and ankles, this involves speed, endurance, balance, and coordination
- ladder drills – moving through the rungs quickly and in various configurations, your mind has to work as quickly as your feet
- shadow boxing and footwork drills
There are so many amazing video on Youtube where you can find these kinds of drills to try out. This one by Shane at fightTips is on Boxing Footwork Drills for Creating Angles, Distance, and Agility. This is a great one for beginners.
Another great video is Trainer Tip Sunday with Shane Fazen. He gives a Boxing Footwork Drill to improve balance, control, and spacial positioning. It’s amazing to watch his quick feet and smooth movements.