Focus Mitts Round Strategy
The structure of a pad work training session.
Be careful not to confuse pad work training with training with the typical Muay Thai pao because these are workouts with different specificities.
At the beginning of training with pad work it is a good strategy to do only as many repetitions as possible until the technique becomes correct and fluid.
It is useless to add too many things until you perform the technique of the shot correctly or add too complex combinations, add parades or footwork if you can not pull the single shot correctly, so it is important to work on the fundamentals.
Training without fixing solid bases and going to add other aspects such as combinations, dodges and parades, footwork at this point become only an obstacle to the development of a good technique on the shots, better to wait and do it later.
Often the tendency is to be in a hurry to put more things but it is a mistake, at first it may seem repetitive but I assure you that it is precisely the repetition will make a complex gesture simple.
Remember that there is a point beyond which continuing to pull on the hiters with a poor shape and low power will be detrimental to the evolution of the fighter.
Rather if you want to do some combination or extra action flaw but slow down, perform the exercises badly, without power, balance, guard, etc. is a way to make the athlete take bad habits.
Same thing for the rhythm and intensity must be balanced according to the athlete in front of you without exaggerating because the risk is to make him tired too soon and perform a workout that for now is too much above his athletic training.
It is much better to rest and start again fresh, or lower the pace or lengthen the recovery with an extra minute rather than continue with a compromised technique but we talk about this when we analyze the duration of the sessions.
“Focus mitt or padwork have been part of boxing training for generations now, probably close to 100 years if not more.”
The equipment for doing the work of pad work is simple:
and for the Focus Pad coach:
- Focus Pad or Focus Mitts,
- Belly Pads for Body Shot or Coaching Shields, the bodice to pull blows to the body,
Duration of a Pad Work session
The duration of a round usually depends on the specific sport you practice and the sporting level, to be clear whether amateur, semi pro or pro.
- Boxing typically has 3 minutes of round with a minute of rest between each round.
- Thai Boxing has 3-minute rounds but with 1 or 2 minutes of rest between each round.
- MMA has 5-minute rounds with a one-minute break between each round for 3 rounds.
- Obviously if your sport involves a different round length your work pad should reflect the length of a round of the race.
- Nothing prevents you from having more fuel to make extra rounds than those provided by the competition(be careful to increase the rounds but do not change the time of the round because it is important to manage the energies in the time of the round scheduled in the match)
Today there are many people who use pad work and some training methodologies typical of combat sports to get back in shape or keep fit.
Important, use the gloves or gloves provided in the race, use the mouthguard and if the helmet is provided wear it at least in some sessions to get used to the protection tools that are provided during the race or the match.
Another important thing is to protect your hands so it is also crucial during pad work sessions to wrap your hands.
Speed and explosiveness or power of the shots?
If you have to work with padwork done to develop speed and explosiveness or power of the shots the way of working must have small variations.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain maximum speed and explosiveness for more than a couple of minutes.
The body and the nervous system get tired and inevitably everything slows down by no longer working on that specific area.
At this point if you are training speed it is good practice to divide the round into moments of work on speed and explosiveness and “rest” with defensive or technical sequences and continue when it is again possible at maximum speed.
I do not agree with the shorter rounds for speed work because in the end the round in reality is always that and the changes of pace are part of the match and must be managed.
So speed rounds tend to be the same but with intervals where you have to work at maximum speed, but personally I never want to do shorter rounds but different moments within the round.
In contrast, aerobic fitness rounds can be performed at “low intensity” since the aerobic energy system responds better to a more consistent type of exercise but for a prolonged number of rounds.
Focus pad workouts for aerobic work can last 10-20 minutes which corresponds to 3 rounds to 5 rounds.
For beginners you can start with the 3×2 minute rounds with 1 minute of rest between rounds are a good place to start.
You don’t have to be in a hurry but working on the quality of the training because doing the high intensity rounds that after a minute you are drained and you do the other two minutes of the round hurt does not make much sense, there must certainly be a stimulus that takes you to the limit of your condition but without going further at that moment.
As fitness increases and skill improves, you can gradually add more intensity during the round and increase its number of rounds by 6×3 minutes and rounds by 5×5 minutes for MMA fighters with a minute break between rounds.
The duration of the round is important because you have to learn to manage energy all the time despite the stimuli that the trainer who holds the pads gives you, a bit like an opponent must make you work on different aspects of the fight and that is why there are few really able to hold and make work with the focus pads.
An athlete or amateur who can perform this amount of training in a technical and disciplined way at high intensity with the right breaks can already be considered in good shape and if you try with some of your friends who do other sports and are fit and try to do this type of training to understand how the energy recall is different from other sports for the required intensity.
How to increase the intensity of pad work
There are many ways to increase the intensity of the pad work and it can be useful after some time or when you notice that the athlete is not put under too much pressure from the training session which can also go well but depends on the goal of the pad work session.
Let’s see some ideas to make the session more intense:
- The pad trainer can add amazing blitzes like performing frequent 10-punch sprints to increase the effort.
- The pad trainer can require a number of bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, tuck jumps or burpees at any time.
- The pad trainer can incorporate a lot of legwork and changes of direction since this makes the attacker move more and works harder.
- You can use longer and more complex combinations of shots that require more effort.
- Some techniques specific to high-intensity sports can be added to make things more difficult. For example, in MMA sprawling and take down can make things really difficult and intense.
- Insert phases of struggle and standing to the pads for example for MMA.
- The duration of a round can be lengthened or shortened to increase the intensity although it is not something I like to do because time management is always something important. Sometimes longer rounds force a person to work harder, and sometimes shorter rounds allow the person to spend more energy quickly.
- Mixing padwork with bag work can make training harder since the sack allows for maximum power while pads are used more to improve speed and reaction time.
- The fighter can add additional resistance by using vests with weights or resistance tubes so that the work on the pads is harder. There are many good products on the market now designed to help the athlete work harder.
- In recent years, products such as the elevation mask, a device for respiratory training that limits the air intake of fighters, making the lungs work more, have been released. The mask is worn during padwork or conditioning and is said to load the turbo forcing the body to extract more oxygen from the limited amount available through the holes in the mask. This unique kit requires some get used to it and may feel rather claustrophobic, but many MMA fighters swear by its effectiveness.
Eight trainer pad work sealing styles
There is no precise way to hold the pads as an attitude, some coaches prefer a more relaxed style, some encourage more aggressive shots and some work on a more technical style but there is a correct way to hold them to allow you to work properly as exposure, support of the focus to the shots and coordination of techniques working safely.
Why do I talk to you about security?
Because those who keep the focus expose themselves and also the blows received must be correctly absorbed to avoid in the long run to injure the shoulders, elbows, wrists.
Now often the approach of how the focuses are kept depends on the personality of the coach and the goal of the training and this must be put at the center, the reason for that training session.
I had already told you about the style with which muay thai pao are kept in a post.
Regardless of who keeps you the hitmen’s favorite style, each has its own characteristics but it’s worth working through the following eight variations to help produce a complete fighter:
1. Offensive or Attack Padwork
It involves the trainer calling for high-intensity forward power combinations that develop aggression and an intense fighting style.
2. Defensive padwork
Defensive padwork focuses on strengthening the fighter’s defensive movements.
So many quick shots from the trainer holding the pads are included to force the block, footwork, evasion or parade.
This is a very important stage.
3. Interception padwork
The interception work involves intercepting the attacking movement of the pad holder with a predetermined counterattack.
Training Belly Pads for Body Shot or Coaching Shields are useful for this job.
4. Counterattack padwork.
Counterattack padwork works to dodge a hit and immediately counterattack with a predetermined combination.
5. Footwork and head movement work.
This type of padwork is used to develop evasive footwork and head movement to keep the fighter always away from danger, while allowing for quick counterattacks.
6. Padwork Ring Craft or Cage Craft.
Moving well in the Ring or Cage is a skill that must be developed as it does not come naturally.
It takes a lot of training to feel comfortable in the confines of a ring or cage, so you need to perform padwork to develop this underreciated skill.
It is necessary to teach the fighters how to move, control the center and escape the corners in a ring or how to use the cage to your advantage.
Without this type of training fighters tend to find that the cage or ring can be used against them by a more experienced opponent.
The ability to send your opponent into a corner is essential in boxing.
Fighters who are able to do this dictate where the fight takes place and can control the position and escape routes of their opponent.
You need to spend a lot of time learning strategies to take advantage of the corners of the ring or cage.
7. Padwork for strategy and game plan.
If a fighter is planning a fight, the teamwork must reflect the game plan that is designed to defeat the opponent.
And if you know the opponent well you have to study him.
Some combinations or tactics must be repeated during match preparation until they become automatic and can be used confidently and naturally during combat.
This type of specific padwork is different from general padwork in that techniques and strategies are practiced for a specific opponent.
If you are fighting against a taller opponent, the work on the pads should reflect this and the pads kept higher than usual.
If the opponent is smaller, the pads should be kept lower than usual.
Any other variable should be considered and should be incorporated into the work of the game plan.
8. Insulation padwork.
This type of padwork aims to improve weaknesses. If a particular technique needs improvement, insulation is the best answer.
Let’s say that a fighter needs to work on their own uppercut defense or on its hook that remains uncovered, or on other shots, then the whole session can be focused on perfecting the defenses or attacking against those certain blows.
Any technique or strategy can be isolated and used until it is improved or mastered.
Those who keep the pads do an active job and that is why the specialists of the focus mitts are paid well for their training sessions!
A good trainer must be able to combine several characteristics to make athletes work in the different areas related both to the characteristics of the athlete (strengths) but also weaknesses and strategies for the match.
Progression in work with pad work
In order for the padwork to develop as much skill as possible, it is necessary to move from simple single shots and combinations of blows to more complex schemes and exercises.
Beginners who are new to holding the pad should become familiar with the basic pad positions and simple combinations before attempting more elaborate technical combinations.
If those who hold the pads try to run with complex exercises before understanding how to coordinate the sequences of the exercises can develop bad habits and this usually results in a poor technique of those who hold the pads and above all do not make their training partner work.
For this there are specialized people to keep the pads!
Everything must be learned gradually so that it allows a gradual increase in both intensity and technical capabilities.
It starts with the basic single-punch techniques, arriving at combinations of two and three strokes.
In the end, through a series of graduated passes, it leads to fluid hit combinations involving both the attack and defense of punches and kicks, and takedowns and ground and pound in MMA, it depends on the discipline practiced and the preparation objectives.
The best progression for pad work learning is:
- Learn each technique individually on the pads.
- Once the techniques have been mastered individually, they can be combined into combinations of two or three parts.
- This is followed by the movement of the head and footwork before, during and after the combination.
- Defensive moves such as blocking, parrying and evading must therefore be integrated.
- Finally, advanced concepts such as fakes, fake intentions, non-telegraphic movement, sectorization and broken rhythm can be developed.
- Specific work for the match!
Only once a person has mastered a phase should go on along the learning process, even holding the pads is a technical job that must be learned step by step and trying to move to advanced levels at the beginning will lead to frustration and the development of technical errors that do not make you become an export in keeping the pads and no one will want to work with you.
So, using a jab as an example, the system using the pad works like this:
- Learn the Jab and the types of Jab (technique).
- Use Jab in combination with other techniques such as Cross, Hook, Uppercut, Overhand, etc.
- Add head movement before the shots, during and after the jab, etc.
- Use footwork in combination with the incoming and outgoing Jab.
- Fake and fake with the Jab.
Now as you can understand who holds the pad must be someone who knows what he is doing to make you work correctly and it is no coincidence that we do specific sessions for those who hold the focus pads by creating real coaches specialized in this type of training and able to make specific areas of the athlete work deficient or for specific strategies.
There is a lot to say about this type of training but I think that with this post you are realizing that like everything to learn correctly you have to rely on professionals because it is easier to immediately learn to do things well than to correct mistakes after you have learned to do things in an approximate way.
Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport