Focus Mitts

focus mitts

Mitts or pads are best known from boxing training. Coaches wearing mitts on their hands hold them up to engage fighters into throwing punches in variation while the coach changes their position, twists their angles and tilts their target surface to elicit a quick reaction from the trainee. The exercise produces better muscle memory, increases reaction time and builds up speed and hand-eye coordination. Focus mitts come in slightly varying sizes, shapes and materials. They tend to be more or less the same coaching aid aimed at the same result: delivering boxing and hand striking techniques with precision and speed.

Traditionally, mitts tend to be made from leather or artificial materials assembling similar qualities as animal skin on the outside. They have a target area in the front and a sleeve at the back to host the trainer’s hands and fingers. The body is padded with shock absorbing material. Traditionally it was a mix of cloth and animal hairs. Today, mitt paddings are made from rubber foam either constructed from a single mold of polyurethane or a variation or different layers of foam to provide a better experience for target practice and to save weight. Lowering the weight has always been a concern for producers as it reduces workload and fatigue for coaches.

While focus mitts originate from boxing, they can also be used in traditional martial arts and any fighting sport with striking techniques. Peter Cunningham, a legendary kickboxing and Muay Thai world champion from Los Angeles, uses pads for both boxing and kicking when training fighters. He says, training with focus mitts is the next best thing to sparring in terms of realistic preparation for upcoming contests.

Kickboxing champion turned trainer Peter Cunningham (left) holds the mitts for a fighter inside the House of Champions training center.

Quality factors
How to tell if a focus mitt is of good quality and useful is based on 3 factors: anatomic fit, padding quality and surface material with shape and seams. Each trainer may have different demands for this. A karate instructor training yellow belt kids will be fine with a heavier and less comfortable mitt compared to a boxing trainer who holds focus mitts for worldclass heavyweight boxers  needs to be more concerned about fatigue. Generally, the quality of the padding should be considered crucial for professional use. The foams should be light, yet absorb strikes well without much recoil. It is best tested by laying the mitt on the floor face up and pushing a clenched fist tightly against the surface compressing the padding. Upon increasing the weight on the pad it should continue to dampen the pressure without pushing through to the floor. Upon release, the padding should snap back immediately. If the padding does not snap back within a fraction of a second, it may be a sign of poor quality and performance. Judging paddings by their thickness alone, does not provide a sufficient criteria for its usability or quality.

Focus Mitts from Fighters Inc.
Punching Mitts on Amazon mail order
Boxing Mitts at Dicksports

Similar products:
Focus Mitt Gloves (hybrid mitt/glove)
Thai pads
Kicking Shields

Related Patents:
Double sided punching mitt from Japan

mitts for kicks
Medium sized mitts can be used for kicking training in Muay Thai.