The punch mitts, or focus mitts are relatively new training tool in boxing. It is rare to see a photo of a fighter before the 1960's hitting them. If used properly, the punch mitts can be the closest thing to a substitute for sparring that there is. Techniques for holding the punch mitts varies from trainer to trainer. I've seen some trainers who hold them with all of the straight punches hitting the right mitt, and the hooks hitting the left one. Other trainers have the jab thrown to the left mitt, and the right hand thrown to the right mitt, and the hook going back to the left one. This is the more common method of holding the mitts. To get the full benefit from the mitts, the person holding them has to incorporate defensive movements along with the offensive. If he or she doesn't, then the fighter might as well be hitting a stationary heavybag. The mitt holder should keep the fighter honest, by lightly hitting him or her with the mitts when he or she drops their hands. The fighter should be forced to roll under hooks, slip jabs and right hands, and come back with punches. On the inside, the mitt holder should throw hooks to the fighters body, making sure that he or she has their elbows in tight. The mitt holder should be moving at all times, making the fighter work. Standing in front of the fighter and letting them punch, without incorporating movement is not as beneficial. The punch mitts are a very good tool for teaching a fighter how to cut off the ring, work angles, etc. Moving to the left, and instructing to step to their right, and throw a right hand, or moving to the right and having the fighter step to their left and throw a left hook effectively teaches them to cut the ring off. The trainer can pretty much employ any type of style while holding the mitts. He or she can be aggressive and push the fighter back, they can be a mover, etc. The trainer can also switch to a southpaw stance. Unless a fighter is being taught a specific technique, their should be no reason for breaks. Other than at the end of the round. The punch mitts can be one of the best cardiovascular tools in the gym. At the end of a round, it is good to have your fighter throw a flurry of punches, for the last 30 seconds or so. This gets them used to stealing the rounds. Because a judge usually remembers the last part of a round more so than the first. And if you can impress him or her late in the round, then you may have a chance of winning the round, even if you didn't do so great at the beginning of it. A good drill to do, to improve reflexes and handspeed, is to have the mitt holder hold up the mitt for a jab, and the fighter immediately throw the jab right when it pops up, without delay. This develops timing, speed, and the ability to see an opening and react to it. Work on using good form. If your hands are down, whoever is holding the mitts for you, should keep you honest, by lightly hitting you. A good training tool to incorporate with body punching with the mitts, is the Super Body Protector from Ringside.
Good posts! This one and the one on SHADOWBOXING.
May I suggest you use paragraphs to make reading easier?
Hi Felipe. Thanks for the advice. I'll do that from now on.
Thanks Keith, I'll be sure to annoy you with more requests in the future
No problem Droc.
any further advice on drills for meaningful focus
mitt sessions would be greatly appreciated. thanks.