Skipping rope is absolutely the BEST boxing footwork drill for beginner fighters!
There’s no way to get around it. I get beginners trying to argue and reason with me all the damn time, asking if there are other good boxing footwork drills for beginners. NOPE! Sorry. There are no other alternatives. Nothing else comes close. Not running. Not swimming. Not cone drills.
And here’s why…
“Do I really HAVE to do it?” [jumping rope]
Yes, you do.
I’m sorry [not really] that it makes you feel weak and pathetic. Or that you feel emasculated doing “exercises for 6-year-old girls”.
No, “other” footwork drills cannot substitute for it.
I don’t know what it is. The more I tell people to jump rope, they more they argue with me and find excuses for it. And it’s always the most uncoordinated dudes that argue with me the most. They’ll insist on doing anything else but that. They’d rather do flashy ladder drills from soccer/football, or cone drills from basketball, or whatever other silly gimmicky nonsense being shared on Facebook/Instagram these days.
The jump rope teaches you footwork efficiency!
The reality is this: skipping rope teaches you footwork efficiency. And BEGINNERS especially, need this more than anything else. Because beginners have horrible efficiency. They get tired even doing nothing at all. Want proof? Haha…(just ask a beginner to skip rope).
Without learning how to move your body efficiently (even if just simple jumping up-and-down), whatever fancy footwork technique you learn will only make your legs tired as hell and cause you to move SLOWER, not faster.
So don’t argue with me. Get your ass on that jump rope. And if you suck that bad at it, and it hurts that much, and you hate it THAT much…that only goes to show how much you need it.
If you can’t even bounce up and down for 15 minutes, you don’t get to do flashy footwork. You clearly don’t have the energy to keep it up.
If the jump rope is so frustrating physically exhausting to you, I can’t imagine how long you’d last in a real fight. You’ll be exhausted once we add in the punches and the stress of facing a live opponent. Skipping rope is like literally the most basic footwork move ever. If you can’t even do this…what chance do you have doing any other kind of footwork?
And BELIEVE me, I totally understand. It’s so tiring. It’s so mentally defeating. It’s boring. It’s painful. It’s this and that. Guys, c’mon…you wanna be fighters and you’re getting your ego smashed by a jump rope? Just get to work. I didn’t even ask you to be good at it. You just have to do it.
The good news:
Yes! There IS good news.
The good news is that learning how to jump rope takes so much less time than you think.
I recommend you do it for 1-2 hours straight your very first time. Please, just listen to me!!! I know it sounds extreme but believe me, you WILL get it. Don’t quit at the 10-15 minute mark. Go straight for at least an hour. I promise within a few days or even 2 weeks at mots, you will find it so comfortable and natural!
It’s like learning how to ride a bike. You’re freaken awful the first couple times and then suddenly a pro like you’ve been doing it your whole life. It’s not only going to be easy, it’ll actually be FUN. Not only that but your boxing footwork and overall movement ability, rhythm, coordination, and endurance will shoot through the roof. It’s like you leveled up a hundred times and you’ll wonder how you could’ve ever done it without the jump rope. (Next, you’ll become and advocate for the jump rope and tell everybody you know they need to do it!)
Real stories of boxers who finally learned how to jump rope (names have been changed to protect the lazy):
Bill has 6 months of boxing experience training alone in his home. He doesn’t go to any gym but he’s read every boxing book and watched every Youtube boxing tutorial there was.
Bill kept asking for alternatives to skipping rope and when pressed, he revealed he wasn’t good at it and felt confident other drills could improve his footwork better (and probably faster).
After I told him that literally all legit gyms make you jump rope, he forced himself to do it and quickly realized how easy it is if you keep doing it everyday. He went from tripping over the rope every other jump to skipping like a pro to the beat of his music. Now he’s a believer.
Nathan is overweight and felt he shouldn’t have to jump rope because it’s hard on his knees and joints. Also, it makes him so tired so fast and he can barely do a minute of it.
I told him to just breathe through his nose, stay calm, and keep jumping (even if it means resetting after every 2-3 jumps).
Nathan wrote back after month beaming how he went from barely doing 10 jumps in a row without messing up to nearly 10 minutes in a row without messing up. Not only that but everything got so incredibly easy once he “figured out the rhythm”. He now loves skipping rope and thinks it’s much easier on his knees than even other footwork exercises.
Zack says he’s incredibly athletic but really awkward/uncoordinated at the jump rope. He’s got explosive footwork, speed, and stamina already so he doesn’t see the point of the jump rope anyway.
I tell him the jump rope really improves your body’s overall coordination, smoothness, and finesse. It’s not only that you have explosive energy and stamina but you can tie in together all so much more effortless. Moving in a more subtle, sneaky way, and with incredible timing on all your movements (whether for footwork or punching).
Zack was jumping like a pro after a week. He can easily jump for an hour straight and not feel tired at all. Despite already being athletic, he now sees how essential skipping rope is. He also said my tip about going for an hour straight really helps. That your body actually finds the efficient rhythm when you’re tired. It just lets go and does what is natural.