How To Throw A Shovel Hook
It’s not quite an uppercut and it’s not quite a traditional hook! The shovel hook is a brutal combination of these two power punches aimed at either the side of the chin or the body – hitting on a 45 degree angle. The shovel hook is a brutal power punch and makes a great addition to any focus mitt drill or heavy bag workout you add into your regime.
Why throw padwork into your regime? It’s great for building cardio and conditioning.
Once you’ve got your jab and straight right down pat it’s time to master – you must learn these two punches first to grasp hip rotation.
Read and utilize the technique below and record yourself performing the shovel hook, although it may feel right it’s not until you review your tape that you pick up on many of the little mistakes I’ll discuss below.
Before We Delve Straight Into The Mechanics Of The Shovel Hook..
You Must Stay Loose
Your muscle mass can work for you or it can work against you when it comes to boxing, particularly in sparring.
Staying tense and stiff in your movements will cause you to fatigue extremely quick, even if you’re throwing minimal punches!
On the other hand if you relax and focus on staying loose and free-flowing in your movement your muscles will remain relaxed to an extent, allowing you to implement your fast footwork and explosive attacks without fear of running out of gas.
You Can’t Afford To Neglect Lower Body Mobility
Boxing is a game of footwork, with constant movement in and out, pivots, slips, rolls and cutting off of the ring you need to ensure your lower body flexibility and mobility are sufficient.
If your calves, quads and hamstrings are overly tight you’ll find your movement extremely limiting.
At the same time, if your hip flexors are overly tight from working an office job and neglecting your mobility work you’ll likely find your power is lacking too.
Your power comes through the hip rotation as you extend your arm, not through your arm itself.
Loose hips = better rotation. Better rotation = increased power.
Shovel Hook Technique
- Begin with your gloves tucked in front of your face, elbows pointing down.
- Take a step with your front (left) foot while loading your hips slightly to the left.
- Drive through your hips as you twist them to the right while pivoting on your front (left) foot.
- Drop your left glove slightly as you fire your punch on a 45 degree angle (between an uppercut and a hook)
- Strike the mitt or heavy bag while ensuring your right hand remains glued to your cheek.
- As soon as your shovel hook connects with the focus mitt, opponent or heavy bag bring it back in front of your face and return to your elbows tucked in position.
Common Mistakes When Throwing The Left Hook
Failing To Pivot On Your Left Foot
As you rotate your hips to the right while firing the hook with your left hand you must pivot on your front foot in order to maintain your balance and channel your power into your shovel hook.
A wild shovel hook thrown from the arm without any hip rotation or front foot pivot will not only lack the power that a hook is notorious for, but you’re also likely going to end off balance – particularly if you miss the pad or mitt.
Winding Up Your Shovel Hook
Your punches should not be telegraphed (aka. your adversary should not see them coming). The #1 way to telegraph a lead hook is to move your glove out to the side to wind it up – this clearly shows what you’re about to do and will likely result in you eating a counter punch (a right hand over the top for example).
The need to wind up a hook to gain more power is also a result of incorrect punching technique too, as above you must pivot on your lead leg as you rotate your hips to draw power into your hook – you will NEVER be able to match the power your whole body can generate by winding up your arm to throw an arm based punch.
Dropping Your Right Hand While Throwing The Shovel Hook
While one glove is extending to punch the other should always be resting against the side of your cheek, protecting your chin.
It’s often not until you review footage of yourself hitting your jab, cross and hook variations that you discover your opposite hand is dipping down while you’re throwing the punch.
Boxing with your hands down is a bad habit (and hard to get out of!) so by ensuring your opposite hand is glued to your cheek from day 1 will save you having to eradicate this bad habit.
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