Detailed Drills: Red Light/Green Light

In my last post, we talked about example drills that work on form, accuracy, power, and speed. Today we’re going to go deeper into one of my favorite drills: Red Light/Green Light. This is a fun drill that works both speed (reaction time and physical speed) and accuracy.


This is a two-person drill and requires two hand-held pads. Boxing mitts or square target pads are ideal, clappers work but have to be held differently. The holder and attacker face off and the holder starts with the front of both pads touching each other (closed position). The holder will turn the pads so they face the attacker (open position), and the attacker then must strike the pads as quickly as possible. This will train the attacker to move quickly and strike the target as soon as it’s available.

Red Light Green Light

For Beginners:

Assign the strikes to the attacker – For example, when the pads are presented the attacker should do a left punch followed by a right punch (jab-cross).

No movement – Both the holder and attacker stand at the correct striking distance and do not move.

Steady timing – The holder shouldn’t try to trick the opponent or vary the timing.

For Advanced:

Assign advanced moves – Assign spins, jumps, anything appropriate.

Attacker’s choice – The attacker can throw anything that would logically work on the pads at the angle they’re presented.

Add Movement – The holder leads. The holder can move forward, backward, or circle the attacker. The attacker’s job is to stay with them so they’re ready to attack when the pads are presented.

Vary the pad position – When the holder presents the targets they can hold them sideways (for roundhouses), high or low, close together, or far apart. Combine this with attacker’s choice to add another layer of skill to the drill.

Red Light/Green Light is a fun drill that works great for both children and adult students. It’s very useful in building up reaction time and a good offense. Be on the look out for bad form however, as reaction drills can sometimes lead to rushing and sloppiness!

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