Focus mitt drills are used for training punches. The trainer holds the focus mitts or focus pads, while the student wears gloves. With the gloves, the student punches the focus mitt held by the trainer. The trainer receives punches on the focus mitt but can also use the arm holding the focus mitt as if throwing punches, which simulates sparring. The punches thrown with the focus mitt by the trainer are evaded by the student with slipping, rolling, weaving, or shuffling techniques. In this manner, the student can practice both attacking and defensive moves with focus mitt drills, using focus mitts, focus pads, and gloves.
Both the trainer and the student employ footwork, so that the student can practice throwing punches with accuracy and power. The trainer constantly provides feedback, which helps the student to improve in real-time.
The following drills practice attacking and defensive movements, by the lead hand and the non-lead hand. For right-handers, the right hand is the lead hand and the left hand is the non-lead hand; similarly, for left-handers, the left hand is the lead hand and the right hand is the non-lead hand.
Focus mitt drills may be classified as:
The “1” signifies one movement. This one movement can be an attacking movement like a straight punch, jab, cross, hook, undercut or an uppercut, or a defensive movement like weaving, rolling, shifting, shuffling, or slipping. A common example is a Straight Punch drill, with variations of a One Hand Straight Punch drill, and an Alternate Hand Straight Punch drill.
Straight Punch drill
This student throws a straight punch at the focus mitt held by the trainer. This drill can have the following variations.
One Hand Straight Punch drill
The student goes on throwing straight punches with the lead hand, for some specified count. This is repeated with the non-lead hand. This drill practices the student with one attacking movement several times by the lead hand, which is followed by one attacking movement several times by the non-lead hand.
Alternate Hand Straight Punch drill
The student goes on throwing straight punches, once with the lead hand and once with the non-lead hand, in an alternating fashion. This drill practices the student with one attacking movement with both hands, alternately.
The “1” and “2” signify two different movements. Both the movements may be attacking movements, or both defensive movements, or one attacking and one defensive movement. For example, the “1” can be a “jab”, and the “2” can be a “cross”. Alternatively, it may be a cross and a hook; or a slip and a counter; or any two movements. A common example is a Jab-Cross drill, with variations of One Hand Jab-Cross drill, and Alternate Hand Jab-Cross drill. More examples are a Slip-Counter drill, or a Body shot-Counter drill.
The student throws a jab followed by a cross. This basic drill practices the student with two attacking movements along with improvement in speed and rhythm. By practicing the variations, the student can experience improved confidence.
One Hand Jab-Cross drill
The student throws a jab followed by a cross with the lead hand, for some specified count. This is repeated for the non-lead hand. This drill practices the student with two attacking movements, sequentially with both the lead and the non-lead hands.
Alternate Hand Jab-Cross drill
The student throws a jab by the non-lead hand, followed by a cross with the lead hand. This is repeated by a jab with the lead hand, followed by a cross with the non-lead hand. This drill practices the student with two attacking movements, alternately with both the lead and the non-lead hands.
The trainer throws a cross or a jab, which the student slips and counters with a cross or a hook. This drill practices the student with a defensive movement followed by an attacking movement.
Body shot-Counter drill
The student delivers a body shot, which the trainer catches on the mitt. The trainer follows with a counter, which may be a hook or a straight punch. Several variations are possible depending on which part of the body is targeted, like the side or front ribs, the stomach, or the liver.
The “1”, “2”, and “3” signify three different movements. Few common examples are Jab-Cross-Hook drill, and Straight-Slip-Counter drill.
The student throws a jab and a cross by the non-lead hand, which is followed by a hook by the lead hand. This drill practices the student with three attacking movements, one after the other.
The student throws a straight punch, which the trainer catches on the mitt. The trainer immediately follows with a jab or a cross, which the student slips. The student immediately counters with a hook or a cross. This drill practices the student with an attacking movement, a defensive movement, and an attacking movement.
In this drill, different steps are created by the trainer as per the progress of the student. The number of steps, the sequence of the steps, and the content of the steps are flexible and totally dependent on the trainer. The student should always follow what the trainer teaches. A common example of a nine-step drill is given below.
This drill consists of nine steps and is aimed at increasing the fluidity of the student’s movement by incorporating slipping, rolling, weaving, and shuffling, along with attacking and defensive movements.
—Step 1. The student throws a jab with the lead hand, which the trainer catches on the focus mitt.
—Step 2. The student throws a cross with the non-lead hand, which the trainer catches on the focus mitt.
—Step 3. The student throws a hook with the lead hand, which the trainer catches on the focus mitt.
—Step 4. The student throws an uppercut with the non-lead hand, which the trainer catches on the focus mitt.
—Step 5. The trainer throws a jab with the lead hand holding the focus mitt, which the student evades by slipping outside of it.
—Step 6. The trainer throws a hook with the non-lead hand holding the focus mitt, which the student evades by rolling under the hook.
—Step 7. The trainer throws an uppercut with the lead hand holding the focus mitt, which the student evades by weaving under the uppercut.
—Step 8. The student shuffles back to move out of range and create distance.
—Step 9. The student shuffles forward to move in the range and repeats from Step 1.
This drill practices the student with nine movements, namely, four attacking movements (jab, cross, hook, uppercut), three defensive movements (slip, roll, weave), and two shuffling movements (moving out of the range, moving in the range).
-Variations can be obtained by changing the sequence of the steps.
-Most of the time, the student should remain on the balls of the feet and maintain fluid movement in all the steps.
-As with any drill, initially this drill should be practiced at a slow speed, and gradually the speed should be increased.
In this drill, the trainer calls out different pre-determined combinations like “1”, or “1-2”, or “1-2-3”, or “9-steps”, but not in any specific order. Since the call-outs are not given in any particular pattern, the student has to remain attentive during the training session. The student should understand the call-out and perform the drill accordingly. This drill improves the reflexes and practices the student with both attacking and defensive movements in a randomized fashion.
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