If you are an aspiring boxing manager, trainer, or coach, one activity you may find yourself doing is wearing punching mitts from time to time for your boxer. Punch mitts are a critical part of boxing training and are also used in kickboxing and mixed martial arts.
Punch mitts present a unique problem in boxing training in spite being a fantastic training tool. A coach, trainer, sparring partner, or manager must wear the punch mitts during training sessions. Unlike a bag, punch mitts cannot be simply hung from the rafters. The very reason to use punch mitts is that a trainer can create moving targets allowing a fighter to focus on hitting various points just like in an actual boxing match.
Whether you are a boxing coach, trainer, manager, or an aspiring boxer as well, you could be drafted in to wear the mitts and to take a pounding. If you want to train your boxer to be a top-notch punch artist, there are some tips to get the best out of them in the ring.
1. Goal setting
Like with any activity you do with your boxer, you need to set goals and objectives they want to achieve in training. Training without specific goals can cause sessions to be poor and lack the motivation needed. In addition, you may not develop and improve as hoped.
Punch mitts are unlike other training tools such as speed backs and heavy bags. Punch mitts offer different options that allow you to challenge your boxer in multiple ways. Due to the different options available, goal setting is a must before starting a session.
Some of the options mitts provide fighters with are reaction drills, defensive drills, accuracy skills improvement, and can also provide boxers with the chance to simulate a bout against an upcoming opponent. Goal setting sets the tone for the session. You and your fighter will need to work together to set the goals and plan out the session to fully achieve the objectives.
Once you and your boxer have set goals for the session, you will be ready to put on the mitts. Training should be designed to improve a fighter’s skills but also to prepare for an upcoming bout. Punch mitt work should mirror a fight as close as possible and it helps if you are familiar with the upcoming opponent’s style.
Coaches should get their boxer to mimic a real bout as much as possible. This means hitting the mitts as hard and accurate as possible. Boxing trainers should keep the mitts as close to their bodies as possible. It will feel uncomfortable at first as you don’t want to get punched in the face. However, positioning your hands away from the body will give the fighter a poor standard of training. One of the tips trainers give to aspiring managers or coaches is to keep your elbows close to the body.
Keep your hands at forehead level on either side for straight-on punches. Angle the mitts slightly inward. Turn the mitts further inward when practicing hooks. When simulating body shots, you should hold the pads at rib height. Angle the mitt toward the ground, so they are almost parallel to train for uppercuts.
3. Apply resistance
A professional boxer will hit the mitts so hard it will send your arm flying backwards. This is the very reason you need to hold the pads up with resistance that pushes back against the punches. Limp arms not only hurt you, the punch mitt wearer, but the fighter as well. A boxer could strain their elbows, shoulders, or wrists if you don’t provide resistance to each punch.
By moving the mitt an inch closer to meet the punch, you provide resistance that feels more like connecting with a real-life opponent. Boxers can build rhythm when the proper amount of resistance is applied and simulate an actual fight.
Punch mitt training shouldn’t be stationary. If you are simulating an actual fight, you should be moving around. In turn, it will get your boxer moving about as well. The very fact that you can move around with the mitts makes them an incredibly useful tool that cannot be replicated by heavy bags or speed bags. This is why pads mimic fights very well and an essential part of boxing training.
Mitt training not only works a fighter’s punching and decision making, but it also improves footwork and stamina. Be sure to move forward, backwards, and side to side to force your fighter all over the ring. It will give him/her the chance work on a variety of footwork moves. Moving your fighter around challenges them and sets the pace for the workout.
5. Be a boxer
When working with punch mitts it is important that you replicate the moves a boxer makes. Don’t just simply hold up your arms making the pads sitting targets. Get your body into a traditional boxing stance. Although you are not throwing punches of your own, you are catching them. Regardless, your body stance and shape should be the same for both giving and receiving punches.
One reason you want to get into a boxer’s stance is it allows you to absorb the impact of the punch. You can also provide adequate resistance to the shots delivered by the fighter. Stability and flexibility are offered by a good boxer’s stance.
6. Alter speeds
Speed can be the difference between accomplishing a good session and a bad one. Just like a real-life boxing match, speed controls the session and the level should always be challenging. You want to control the speed throughout training. By ensuring that it is challenging, your fighter will get the most out of the session.
A session should begin slowly to warm up. The warm up allows you to prepare, make adjustments, and get positioned to make the session a high-quality experience. Once both of you are comfortable, you can turn up the intensity to reach full-speed.
Boxers may need more of a challenge as the session progresses. Mitt training can be made more challenging by adjusting movements, increasing speed, and calling for different punch combinations. You should focus on making a session challenging but not frustrating. A session that becomes frustrating due to being too difficult doesn’t help a boxer’s development.
7. Provide feedback
You could spend an entire punch mitt session telling your boxer about everything that they are doing good or bad. However, most feedback can wait until after the pad session finishes. The majority of your recommendations will have more impact when delivered after the end of the mitt work.
Although feedback can be held to the end of the session, you can provide tidbits of information to guide your fighter. The mitts allow you to give feedback by directing your fighter into specific directions. Using the mitts to motivate and give direction can offer far better feedback to a boxer than words alone. You are in control of the rhythm during a session, so it is up to you where the fighter’s attention is directed.
During a session you may find that your boxer struggles with keeping their guard up or landing a specific combination. Rather than waiting until the end and talking about it, use the mitts to invoke a response from him/her. As you control the session, you can focus on a specific area before moving to the next.
8. Choosing punch mitts
When selecting a pair of punch mitts, it is important to get a size that isn’t too large. A large pair of punch mitts hinders development as a boxer can casually throw punches and make contact with the pads.
In contrast, a pair of mitts that are too small makes it difficult to land punches. You may even take a shot on the wrist or forearm from the boxer. Mitts should be light enough that a coach can move their hands to different targets and do not get tired during a session.
A pair of punch mitts need to be durable and capable of taking punishment from fighters. They will receive a lot of fast and hard punches over time. Quality punch mitts are made from leather and are tough enough to be used for long periods. Since punch mitts are so important in the preparation for a fight, they mustn’t breakdown during a session.
As an aspiring boxing coach, trainer, or manager, following these tips when it comes to punch mitt training can provide your boxer with a high-quality session. A boxer can get invaluable training when using pads in the gym. Whether a young fighter or veteran of the squared circle, punch mitts are a great tool that deliver an immense amount of learning to boxers.