Boxing Paddles Vs Pads – What To Use For Training

Focus mitts and pads have been the number one piece of equipment in every boxing trainers arsenal for as long as I can remember and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Something we are seeing more and more of as time goes by is Pads and Paddles being used in unison by a growing number of coaches in their training of different fighters.

Boxing Pads and paddles offer a different look and feel to the fighter and as I have said on numerous different occasions, the more different situations and scenarios you can get a fighter used to, the better they can adapt to all of the different things they are going to come face to face with in the ring.


Pads And Mitts Are Number 1:

Pads are the number one for a reason, they offer a firm target to hit that is just like punching a head through your gloves and they allow you work on your combos while always needing to have one eye on defence in case the coach throws back at you.

Paddles are longer style punching targets with a handle at the end, they allow the fighter to punch straight through the target as the coaches hand is not there to absorb the shot. The long length of the paddles make also make it better for defensive work like slipping shots and rolling under from side to side.

A boxing trainers focus mitts are like a wrench for a mechanic, it is how he trains his fighters for battle. The main advantage of using focus mitts with a coach is that they are on the spot to correct your technique, the can give you pointers on your footwork and they can be used to drill combos specific to any upcoming fighters that the boxer might be stepping in the ring with.

If the fighter is tall and going to be fighting a smaller fighter, you can drill them with straight punches and uppercuts as the smaller guy tries to get inside or you can practice the jab to the body and the overhand right if you are preparing for  taller guy.


How to Hold The Pads For Beginners

Three Things To Keep In Mind When Holding The Pads For A Fighter.


  1. Don’t Hold The Pads Too Far Apart

A lot of beginners to holding pads will hold them way too far apart. Remember, a boxer is going to be hitting a persons head and that is quite narrow. Naturally you should also hold the pads not too much more than head width apart to simulate a fight more realistically.


  1. Keep The Target Firm

The second mistake I see a lot with beginners to pad holding is that they don’t hold their hand firm in front for the boxers punches. When you allow the puncher to box straight through the target it is like punching a hanging curtain and it is more similar to shadow boxing for the fighter, they wont enjoy it and they wont get the benefit. You can even move the pad slightly towards the boxers punch to take the impact fully but be careful not to choke the jab by moving the pad to aggressively forward.


  1. Drill Defence As Well As Offence

It can be easy to just call out combos and let your fighter focus on offence 100% of the time but it wont do them any favours in the long run. You need to throw some shots back at the fighter when they are wearing the mitts to get them used to blocking the punches and get the ready to slip, roll or dodge the actual counter their opponent would throw in a fight.


The Main Problem With Mitts

The main problem I see when using the focus mitts is that the trainer needs to take the full force of the shots and when it is a heavier handed fighter it can take its impact of the wrists and elbow joints causing considerable pain over time.

The Boxing Paddles take this element of the game away as the trainer is only holding the bottom of the paddle and moving it toward the boxer as he punches. The boxer punches through the target but it is not like the curtain when pushed against the punch properly, it can provide just the right amount of impact to feel good for the trainer and the fighter.


Paddles Are Better For Drilling Defence & Speed

Paddles extend the length of the trainers reach and this is good for practicing defence. On the mitts a fighter may get used to getting quickly out of the trainers range and then developing bad habits like dropping their hands as they move away. With the paddles, the trainer can reach you from almost anywhere and make you pay if you get sloppy.

The trainer can throw straights and crosses to make you slip and hooks to make you roll under from further away and as we said, it is just a different type of workout to get the fighter used to seeing different things.

Since there is no impact pressure with paddles, the fighter and trainer can easily work on faster softer punches that can help the fighter to develop their speed and accuracy a little bit more effectively than on the pads.


Boxing Mitts Are Better For Longer Combos And Rhythm

When you look at the Mayweathers focus mitts routine, it is al about rhythm and even for average fighters and trainers, it is easy to put together 6,7 and 8 punch combos to the body and the head and get into a good routine.

The boxing paddles are better for shorter combos and including blocks, slips and rolls into the routine.


Boxing Pads Are Better For Power

With the pads a fighter can load up more and meet resistance when he lands. This makes the pads more suited to building up power in the fighter for going after knock outs and causing more damage.



Different Types Of Pads

Meister Focus Pads

There are different types of pads to suit trainers when they are with different fighters and to promote different styles of training.

Regular Curved Pads

We like curved pads the most because they are more effective that flat style pads for catch hooks and uppercuts. With flat pads, the punches tend to roll off and you don’t get as clean of a contact. This is why we always recommend the curved variety.


Lot of Padding Vs Little

The amount of padding gel or foam in the pad will help to keep the trainers wrist safe and protect their hands although the will be a little heavier. Thicker pads are better for training bigger fighters.

Lighter pads can move quicker as they are lighter and are better for working on speed. The trade of is they can cause pain in a trainers wrists, hands and back.


Mini Focus Pads

Ringside Mini Pads

We would still recommend the mini pads in curved form and these are perfect for training kids as they are lighter, faster and you don’t have to absorb big impact from the puncher.

Mini focus pads can also be used with bigger fighters to work more on speed an accuracy. You can’t punch as hard and as you have to focus more on accuracy and they are great for speed drills.


Boxing Paddles Vs Sticks

5 Ring to Cage Boxing MMA Speed Punching Paddles

Boxing paddles have handles and are better at absorbing impact and taking punches and they are also good for defence.

Boxing sticks are just long sticks that provide a token target to hit but they are good for defence, slipping and rolling as the sticks come at you from all angles.

I would prefer to use the paddles but it is a matter of personal preference what you go for and variety is the spice of life.


The Best Of Both Worlds

You can workout with just focus mitts but probably not so much with just the paddles. When we are training we do the initial rounds on the focus mitts until the trainers hands get tired or sore and then move onto the paddles. It is better to give the fighter different types of training for maximum improvement and just to change up the training as much as possible.

We usually like to use the large circular target pad which is good for heavy combos as there is less impact on the trainer and there is a firm target for you to land your punches against.

Overall, focus mitts are the go to workout for trainers and their fighter but it is no harm to mix it up with paddles and other punching targets to keep things fresh, save the trainers wrists, fighters knuckles and make things more fun for the training session.





Aidan Lehane has been involved in the fight game for well over 10 and has trained in some of the leading boxing gyms around the world including Sinbi Muay Thai and MTK Global Marbella. He wants to offer as much advice to beginners and pros as possible.

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