Pad Holder Tips for Better Focus Mitt Work
Avoid the worst beginner focus mitt mistakes with these five tips:
1. Meet the Punch
To catch a punch properly, you must meet it with the focus mitt at the point of impact. This gives the boxer a solid and satisfying hit, rather than having them punch through a limp wrist and overextend their arm.
The mitt should travel 2-6 inches before it makes contact with the punch. It is imperative that you meet every punch that your trainee throws during a focus mitt session to prevent injury. This is the number-one tip for better focus mitt work. In fact, this one piece of advice will put you light-years ahead of the average pad-holding newbie.
2. Provide Targets at the Proper Height for Your Partner
When you’re holding pads for someone, make sure they’re punching at eye level for head strikes and belly, chest, or rib-level for body shots. Ideally you want to find a partner of similar height, but shorter people can easily hold for taller fighters if they’re diligent about lifting the pad higher. When in doubt, higher pad placement is almost always better.
3. Maintain a Realistic Fight Rhythm
Beginners sometimes approach the mitts with a “light-switch mentality.” During a round, they’re either on or off; alternately hitting the pads as hard as they can, or losing focus and drifting out of fighting stance while they wait for the next command. Quality pad work flows like a real fight, which is perpetual motion split into sequences of explosive punching, smooth footwork, sharp head movement, and measured defense.
Be sure to approach your focus mitt work with this realistic fight rhythm in mind.
4. Be a Good Example for Your Fighter – Show Them What You Want to See
Like partnered shadowboxing, holding the mitts is an excellent opportunity to show your fighter how you want them to stand, move, feint, and think. Use proper fighting stance and mechanics at all times.
Over time, your fighter will mirror your good habits and make them their own. Just because you could hold mitts while sitting in a chair doesn’t mean you should!
5. Less Talking, More Socking
The best pad holders say as little as possible to their trainees when the round timer is running. Hitting the mitts at a high level requires laser focus, and any unnecessary chatter will only be a distraction. But don’t I have to correct their technique?