There are many effective boxing drills and workouts you can try, each with a unique impact on improving your skill set. Boxing is one of the most technically nuanced martial arts in existence. Each subtle movement packs meaning and has a reverberating effect on a fighter’s performance in the ring.
The heavy bag enhances a fighter’s power. The double-ended bag works on rhythm and timing. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) improves conditioning. But one particular boxing workout sharpens all skills a fighter has acquired throughout training and develops each of his techniques as a collective — it’s called focus mitts.
The focus mitts drill involves one-on-one interaction between boxer and coach. The coach uses a pair of focus mitts to catch a boxer’s punches, usually thrown in combinations, incorporating both offensive and defensive movement. The more advanced a boxer is, the more complex the combinations performed during focus mitts.
There are many great positives to be gained from performing focus mitts with a dedicated boxing coach. If you are serious about improving your technique, you may want to consider enlisting your boxing coach in personal training to maximize the benefits of focus mitt drills.
Today, Evolve Daily shares the four most important ways focus mitts improve your boxing technique.
1) Improve your technique and aim
The first and most obvious impact focus mitts training has on your boxing skills is improving your technique and aim. As your coach directs your fists towards the mitts, you enhance your hand-eye coordination, and in turn, makes you more comfortable throwing punches.
A lot of beginners tend to be hesitant in throwing combinations because they haven’t yet gotten comfortable with their offense. Focus mitts training fixes this problem almost instantly, in just a handful of sessions.
As you improve your targeting capabilities, you become less likely to miss the mark in a real match. You become more accurate with your shots, and aside from doing more damage, you score more points with judges based on better technique.
Furthermore, the combinations you perform during focus mitts training is permanently embedded into your muscle memory, allowing you to unleash your combinations without so much as a second thought. Because focus mitts training allows a boxer to punch without fear of being countered, power and speed are also enhanced.
2) Gain a better understanding of distance
One of the most underrated effects focus mitts training has on your boxing technique is the impact it has on your distance and pacing. With focus mitts, you are able to gain a better sense of whether you are in or out of range, both offensively and defensively. Distance and range is an important aspect of boxing.
There are two types of boxers, outside fighters and inside fighters. Outside fighters like to stay at arm’s length, where they are able to use their slick movement and unload long, rangy punches to keep their opponents at bay. Inside fighters prefer shortening the gap and like to work from up close, digging their forehead into their opponent’s chest and unleashing their power shots.
With focus mitts training, boxers develop spatial intelligence and gain a better knowledge of their optimal distance. Whether you like to stay on the outside and operate from afar, or you like to stick and move in the pocket, focus mitts training lets you play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
Are you an outside fighter or an inside fighter? Discover your technique and unique style with focus mitts training.
3) Simulate a real boxing match
Most beginner boxers aren’t ready to climb in the ring just yet. Before they are ever allowed to compete, boxers will have had to have logged countless hours of sparring and practice. You can’t go into a real boxing match clueless of what you are supposed to do.
Focus mitts training provides a simulation of how a real boxing match feels. Different from sparring, hitting focus mitts allows boxers to practice real-world combinations which center on correct technique and execution.
As your coach mimics the movement of a real opponent, you gain a higher understanding of how to deal with certain situations. If you slip a punch to the left, you understand that the best counter to that would be a left hook to the head or body. Pull your head back, and the best reaction would be to counter with a straight punch.
These are techniques you acquire through focus mitts training. Furthermore, since focus mitts are practiced in real three-minute rounds with one minute of rest in between, you become better accustomed to the energy requirements of a real boxing match.
Focus mitts allow boxers to practice both offensive and defensive movements and perfectly encapsulates the ebb and flow of a real fight.
4) Strengthen the bond between fighter and coach
Perhaps the most important benefit of focus mitts training is the bond it develops between fighter and coach.
Constantly working together on technique and movement via focus mitts training puts a boxer and coach in sync. Your coach can direct your movement and develop a unique rhythm which later transforms into your own personal fighting style. The more you work with your coach, the more your coach also understands who you are as a fighter.
All great boxers have great corners, and part of a great corner is a great coach. Success in boxing is much more likely when there is a strong bond between a fighter and his cornermen. They are there to point out mistakes that a boxer makes mid-fight and details ways to correct them.
During a boxing match, cornermen are also responsible for making slight adjustments to strategy and approach. This is made more effective the longer the hours logged in focus mitts training.
Are you serious about improving your boxing skills? Perhaps it’s time to take it to the next level and seek out the services of a dedicated professional boxing coach. It could be the decision that transforms you from a novice to an advanced fighter.