5 Ways in Which Reactive Pads/Mitts Helps to Improve Your Boxing

The other day I was teaching a class and we had just finished when one of our members asked me about doing some Mayweather style pads also known as ‘reactive mitts/pads’ because she found that it was really helping to improve her technique. This got me thinking about the ways in which this specific type of pad work can help you to improve your boxing.

Below is a list of 5 ways in which reactive mitts/pads help you to improve:

  • Perfect Repetition – In most things, boxing included, repetition leads to perfection. This statement could be more correct if we adjusted it to say ‘perfect repetition leads to perfection’ and when you do the continuous ‘reaction pad work’ it’s all about repeating movements and refining them.
  • Making ‘Smaller Circles’ – As you repeat the movements of attack and defence in a loop format, you start to become more efficient in your movement, almost like the effects of the ‘wax on, wax off’ techniques employed by Mr Myage in Karate Kid. As you become more proficient it takes less effort and smaller movements to generate maximum potency in attack and defence hence the term ‘making smaller circles’.
  • Defensive responsibility – You will find that if you look at a traditional way of doing pads most trainers focus primarily on attack, on power and ‘sharpness’ by which we mean speed and crispness of the punch. Seldom do certain coaches teach ‘real time’ defence on the pads where in the pads holder is throwing full speed and power attacks for the boxer to defend against. This teaches the boxer not only to focus on attack but to learn ‘defensive responsibility’ and become aware of counter-punchers. (Credit to Barry Robinson from Clean Boxing)
  • Cardiovascular Improvement – A coach once told me that the reason why others do not implement reactive pads in their training program is because the constant repetition of punches for a continuous time of up to 30 minutes saps a lot of energy, not just from the boxer but from the coach too. If the coach is not fit it becomes difficult, however, a fit coach can easily do 30 minutes of reactive pads, thus leading to improved cardiovascular endurance from both the coach and the boxer.
  • Improved Memory – It’s proven that repeating a movement continuously for extended periods of time leads to improved muscle memory, this is how athletes improve. However, it also helps to improve cognitive function in relation to the activity, so it will make you smarter in the ring and you will be able to retain more information. The more you practice a technique the more intuitive it becomes and at some point you will no longer require conscious effort to execute it. This frees up your brain capacity to focus on reaction, reading an opponent, and planning ahead, which in all makes you a smarter and faster fighter.

All the points which I have raised have been from personal experience from my years of training and competing in the sport of boxing, with some of the best coaches and fighters in the country and in the world. Special credit is due to my distant mentor Barry Robinson from Clean Boxing who coined many of the concepts which I use to teach and perform to date.