The Basics of Holding Focus Mitts for Boxing

Focus mitts are a great tool to develop accuracy and proper mechanics in boxing, but if used wrong, they can also develop poor and just plain wrong habits. In this video striking Coach Charles Martinez teaches how to properly use them, as well as how not to.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Coach Charles Martinez:
Hello, this is coach Charles Martinez from The Arena, and this is your tip of the week. This week we’re going to be discussing the use of focus mitts. Now focus mitts have lots of benefits. They could also have lots of detriments depending on how you use them. Focus mitts are designed for accuracy. You can build proper body mechanics, proper responses, proper condition responses to strikes, but they’re often done badly. First and foremost, mitts should never be this far apart. This is just two people standing near each other you’re trying to hit. So when I hold focus mitts for a person, the first mitt stays out, second mitt staggers back, so they can touch with the first one, rotate with the second one. So this reinforces the proper range, proper mechanics. So if he just throws one, two, and I stagger the mitts this way, he’s forced to rotate to reach the second mitt.

What you commonly see is this. I don’t know why I’m hitting so hard, but very common. Also, it shortens his right hand, and teaches him the wrong range. It makes him flare his elbow out. Doesn’t let them rotate his body to extension. So very common mistake. Open and hit. Wrong. So if I stagger, I still want to give resistance so he gets the satisfaction of hitting into the target instead of getting jammed, but I want him to make sure he rotates. And then all the complex combinations you see on pads are just a combination of simple things put together. So I let him throw the one, two. I let him have success. I make him rotate. Then I check them. I make him get his body weight back. I made him bring his hand right back to his face. One, two. I don’t do it every time, because before he gets used to it.

And then we start to pick up speed. There’s a big difference between one, two, one, two, and one, two. See? If I start to travel, then he has to start traveling. So one here, right in range. That means he was able to hit his opponent without ever having to cover any distance. That’s fine if we’re working the mechanics of rotating the hips from one punch to the other. The reality is, most people move when you’re trying to strike at them. So this is great for learning the mechanics or the punches, but occasionally you’re going to have to give them one, two, and they’re going to have to give them, so that they learn when they need to travel their feet to get to the target. But first, you should be reinforcing proper mechanics. One, two. Then proper mechanics, and forcing them back to their fighting stance. Then you can start stacking the combinations to make them better. Like one, two, slip. Good. One, two, slip, two. Good. One, two, slip, two. Add a hook. Again. Add a slip. All right, easy. That’s your tip of the week.
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