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Pivot

To pivot or not to pivot!

This can be the turning point of the fight. Pun intended.

But literally yes it is that effective.

I believe it’s underused and needs more attention, I want to see some gladiators in the ring fighting for position with some pivot fights haha

Taking a deeper look into the pivot is it used for offense, defense, or both?

I’m going to teach you how to use this technique effectively and efficiently in this pivoting movement.

The Pivot in Boxing

Learn to pivot efficiently changing directions quickly throwing off your opponent’s line of attack and opening up a new avenue of offense for you.

It’s small and slight but a necessary tool to have. A good boxer should be able to do this almost instantly. 

Pivoting allows your body to turn to either your weak side or your strong side. 

Your weak side will be used more for defense and your strong side will be setting you up for the offense. 

Essentially it helps you work in tight spaces when you need to dodge a punch or deliver a strike by moving quickly into position.

Why do we pivot

Simple - we get to add another tool to our bag of tricks!

We can defuse an opponent’s attack. 

Staying in front of an attack is never recommended; you learn the benefits of moving to create angles.

It can be used for defense and offense.

Have a bad back? Instead of using only slips, this is a good alternative to use more legs and momentum to dodge a punch. 

Open up your stance and use it like a matador letting the bull go by and cashing in on style points with the judges.

How to pivot in boxing

There are two directions to pivot in boxing:

  1. Weak side: Referring to your lead hand, a weak side pivot is a defensive move to create more space.
  2. Strong side: Referring to your strong (typically back) hand, a strong side pivot is defense that creates offense by opening up to your opponent with both hands available.

To perform a pivot: Start by staying light on your front foot (aka the balls of your feet).

Push off your back foot while putting the weight in the balls of your front foot to swive into a 45° angle to either side.

Slide your back foot into its new starting position. Be sure not to allow your feet to overlap with each other, and keep a staggered stance to maintain balance.

Land with your weight evenly between your legs. (Avoid landing with your front foot taking all the load falling forward).

You still want to be able to use your feet effectively as a choice to move out and now catch your breath or keep applying pressure and go on the attack.

This is an explosive movement, and at the same time should be relaxed and easy to use when done right.

This is advanced footwork compared to a novice or a beginner learning their body movement in the sport.

Much practice is needed, pivoting drills will help.

When to use a pivot

When your competitor is applying pressure to you by taking space or with punches hoping to control the fight you can steal back momentum with a simple pivot.

Pivot as your opponent rushes in

As your opponent rushes in, use their momentum to your advantage.

Capitalize on this situation by countering with some punches.

Pivot to escape being trapped on the ropes

Another example is if you are being backed up into the ropes and you run out of room. You shouldn’t be going straight back, to begin with, but here you are.

As soon as your back feels the ropes pivot out to your opponent’s weak side turn them into the ropes or keep circling out to reset.

Pivot to establish ring generalship

The last example is commanding the center of the ring. This is called ring generalship. 

You can save energy as your opponent travels around the ring and you pivot in the middle of the mat waiting for them to set their feet. Once your target becomes a little more still, you can attack!

When you perform a weak side pivot it will be used as a defensive move primarily.

You can throw a check left hook while you pivot to your weak side like a counter punch.

Now for a strong side pivot

During a strongside pivot, you will begin this move before your opponent throws a punch. Putting yourself in a dominant position.

Both hands are available to use, this is when I like to see fighters go to work and take a chance.

You can also use this before your competitor’s punch is ever thrown and launch the beginning of your own attack.

It’s always good to work behind the jab. So throw a jab to get your opponent thinking about your hands then use your feet to get over. 

Boxing pivot footwork

Some drills to practice your pivoting

Using cones is perfect to keep your lead foot pointed at the cones while you swivel around them. 

Make sure to keep your foot close and your movement tight.

Use some tape on the floor as a point of reference. 

You are going to want 3 lines: One line straight and the other two meeting at the point where they will connect, creating a 45° angle.

Or just grab a friend and use your new move on them 

Not like this haha...

Common mistakes when pivoting

There aren’t many steps in executing the pivot so there are few mistakes to be made.

But the few that are made are serious no-no’s.

Throughout the movement, you must maintain your stance, this means do not cross the feet one over the other. 

Control your balance to continue either moving your feet or supply a barrage of punches to your target.

Make sure the front foot actually pivots don’t leave it behind in its starting position. You will lock up your hips and lose balance this way as well.

And last but not least the side you are moving to bring that hand up and protect yourself, as they may have great reflexes and try to counter your movement.

You made it to the end congratulations take this information and apply it the best you can remember practice makes perfect!

Thanks for giving us a quick read, I hope this was helpful to all levels in the sport of boxing.

Good luck champs!

Now go pivot over to the next article in our series on learning boxing.