Those engaged in training & coaching need to maintain a more diverse set of supplies than the individual.
Training pads and mitts
Firstly, there are the training mitts, pads & shields that are so indispen...
Training & coaching gear that every coach needs!
Those engaged in training & coaching need to maintain a more diverse set of supplies than the individual.
Training pads and mitts
Firstly, there are the training mitts, pads & shields that are so indispensable to any training session. Select pads that are of a reasonable size and thickness – the trainer has to often handle the kicks and strikes of several people, so the thickness of the pads is most important here. Ideally speaking, especially if you’re a kickboxing coach, you shouldn’t feel the shock of a kick when someone kicks your pads.
There have been instances of people using cheap pads ending with broken arms, so this is really a serious consideration. It’s also best to buy pads that have a slight curvature – if your pads don’t, it will take a month or two to ‘break them in’ and give them the curvature through use and practice.
Another indispensable part of training & coaching supplies, is, of course, corner supplies. One thing that a corner man sometimes needs is coagulants. These are a little difficult to acquire unless you can get a doctor to prescribe them – which is not easy.
As an alternative, learning how to stop bleeding by reducing blood flow to the area (I’m NOT talking tourniquets here) in conjunction with over-the-counter antiseptic powders, can stop most reasonable bleeding wounds. Anything more serious than this, and your fighter shouldn’t be in the corner, but out of the ring and on his way to a hospital.
So, to stop any reasonable bleeding, reduce blood flow to the region by putting pressure on a blood vessel leading to the area, and pat on an antiseptic power – the conjunction of these two should stop the bleeding – which is not to say it won’t start up again if your fighter takes another hit in the area, but that’s only to be expected.
Cooling and cleaning
You’ll also need a tote bag for your corner supplies, as well as water and ice – give your fighters plenty of water to counter dehydration. Ice is needed for swellings and also to cool your fighter down. You’d best keep a number of ice packs – they’re filled with ice, and can reduce swellings and provide cooling to the overheated fighter just out of the ring.
This can be crucial, as the overheated body doesn’t function too well – it can slow down, which in the ring, is disastrous. Cooling the body down adequately can also prevent some kinds of injury to the muscles and tendons.
You’ll also need a spit bucket – any reasonably sized bucket will do. Then you’ll need gauze and tape for competition wrappings, a good towel to remove sweat and blood, cotton swabs, and vaseline. Vaseline is especially useful to the fighter as it can actually prevent cuts, wounds and scrapes.
There’s a lot more that a corner man needs, of course, but most of this is just common sense. Let’s go on to…
These are just perfect for training in a whole host of arts, from MMA to Jiu Jitsu to wrestling – any art that uses grappling could use one of these. Which grappling dummy a coach or trainer buys depends a lot upon whether you’re going to be teaching primarily throwing and striking or submission – since most grappling arts teach a combination of throwing and submission, you’ll probably need more than one grappling dummy, specialized for each.
While the best methods of practicing grapples is on a live opponent, these dummies can also assist training because there is no danger of hurting them – thus training can go at a much faster pace than with a live opponent.
Be careful though, a person used to a grappling dummy becomes unused to a resisting opponent, and also must be very careful not to injure a training partner when training with a live opponent.
The best way to use mitts, pads & shields to ensure you don’t break your arm!
There are several factors that you need to take into consideration when choosing mitts, pads & shields, and we’ll go into these in depth here.
Choose the right thickness
First of all, especially in kickboxing, you need to pay careful attention to the thickness of the pad that you’re buying. This is especially crucial, because in full-contact combat sports like Muay Thai, it is quite possible to get a broken arm from taking a heavy kick on an inadequate pad. The golden rule is that if you feel the power of a kick right through the pad, so that it shakes up your arm, or hurts, stop training, and don’t resume your training until you change the pads.
Size is important
The actual size of the mitts, pads & shields that you buy depends on your own body size – medium body sizes will need medium pads, while very big people need to go in for the large pads. I wouldn’t go in for the extra large sizes as a rule, but this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Suit yourself – go with what’s comfortable.
Larger pads or shields might be wearisome to hold up for long periods, especially if they’re also thick enough to stop most blows, but your body will condition itself and adapt, so this is not a cause for concern. Fit isn’t an issue, since all pads come with straps that can be tightened to give you a perfect fit.
Choosing the shape of your pads
These days you see a lot of differently shaped pads, but I don’t hold with this. I’ve seen narrow, thick pads (designed to reduce weight while also providing protection) that can leave you with a broken arm if your partner’s kick is off target.
I have no objections to innovation in pad shapes, but whatever the shape, the pad should provide adequate coverage and protection to the hand and arm, first and foremost. That, after all, is the purpose of pad.
Curved Pads and shields
I really like the curved pads that are out these days – they feel a lot more natural in training than a straight pad. Everyone who’s done hard training knows that any pad – even a straight pad – will develop a curve after a month or two. But if it has a curve to start with, you can have the natural feel of a well broken in pad right at the start. Also, a curved pad tends to catch blows better, providing better protection.
Trainers should go with their instincts and experience when buying supplies of this sort, while beginners would do well to listen to their bodies – what I mean is that if you’re taking damage through a mitt or pad, get a new one.
Focus on protection, and throw away anything that doesn’t protect you adequately in training. That’s what these things are there for.
Choosing corner supplies to support your ring fighter…
Knowing what corner supplies are needed in the ring is crucial if you’re engaged in any combat or contact sport. There’s a lot of increased interest in such sports, especially in MMA and Muay Thai, and it can very well happen that you are asked to be a ‘corner man’ – that is to say, to support your training partner or friend as he takes on an opponent in the ring or cage – or on the mat.
Most of the materials you’ll need as a corner man are easily available over the counter in any sports store, or even online. Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need…
Keep your fighter cool
Start out with a good bag that can hold all your corner supplies, of course. Other than that, your most crucial supplies will be your ice packs – these are packs that can be filled with ice and used to reduce swelling. They are also used to cool down your fighter. Both these functions are important – a fighter who is overheating, will find his body slowed and his reflexes off. He’ll probably end up taking a great many more blows than he ordinarily would.
Cooling the body down also tends to prevent muscular injuries, sprains and tendinitis.
A similar tool to the icepack is what is called an Endswell or a No-swell. This is a small metal tool that can be cooled in ice, and then applied to swellings on the face – quite useful for places that an icepack cannot easily reach. Some of these tools actually have a container in which water can be frozen to maintain the coolness of the tool for the maximum amount of time.
Cleaning and first-aid
Then you’ll need a simple spit bucket for when your fighter washes out his mouth. You’ll also need towels to wipe off blood, sweat and grime. A corner sponge is also great for this purpose, so you need to have that as well.
Gauze and tape are needed in considerable amounts, both to wrap the hands and tape off your fighter’s gloves, and for injuries. At many competition events these things are provided for by the management, but you should get your own in any case. Careful wrapping will prevent your fighter’s hands from getting injured. A good pair of scissors should also be handy – obvious, of course, but I still thought I’d mention it.
Cotton swabs are another essential
A host of small cuts and perhaps nosebleeds are inevitable in any contact fight, and you need cotton swabs to help stop the bleeding, so make sure you don’t run short on these. Keep pairs of surgical gloves handy to use when treating injuries on your fighter – a simple knowledge of germ theory will tell you that these will help prevent infection.
Make sure to apply Vaseline to your fighters face to help limit bleeding wounds as well. Apply Vaseline on the cheeks, as well as on the ridges of the eye, on the nose, and on the forehead.
Other important details
A stop watch is a handy tool to have as well, because there’s only a minute’s grace between each round. Be right at the cage door when they open it to not lose time there, and move quickly and efficiently to prepare your fighter for the next round.
Similarly, a stool for your fighter to sit on is a good option for your team to have – usually this sort of thing is provided by the management, of course, but if it isn’t, it will limit the rest and comfort of your fighter between rounds. Carry one in any case.
Your fighter needs to take along a spare mouth guard, as well as a spare groin protector. You need to take along some training mitts to make sure that your fighter is properly warmed up before the bout – whether you do this or not can make the difference between victory and defeat.
Finally, you’ll need to get a doctor to prescribe coagulants – these constrict the blood vessels around a wound and limit bleeding. These are just about all the supplies a corner man needs – have them around, and you’ll have no problems giving your fighter the support and assistance he needs.
Can grappling dummies improve your game?
Grappling dummies are actually very useful for anyone looking to improve their game, whether this is at MMA, BJJ or even Muay Thai – anyone who is engaged in a sport that involves grappling, throwing or wrestling can benefit.
However, it’s important to know what sort of grappling dummy to buy, because there are two basic types available, and the dedicated fighter needs to have both.
The first sort of grappling dummy is one that is used for striking and throwing
Iit doesn’t do as well in submission moves, but is excellent for those engaged in a mixed combat art like MMA or Muay Thai. This dummy is excellent for practicing strikes upon, and you will be able to practice most of your major throws on it repeatedly without it taking damage.
In this, it allows a greater intensity of training than with a live training partner, as you don’t have to worry about not hurting the training dummy, and so can focus all your concentration on perfecting the technique of the strikes or throws themselves. Throws can also be done faster because the safety of your partner is not a consideration.
However, you need to be very careful not to hurt a live training partner if you’re used to training with grappling dummies – exercise a little extra caution, and everything will be fine.
The second sort of grappling dummy is one dedicated to submission moves
This is perfect for just about any grappling art, and anyone who trains at arts that involve both throwing and grappling should ideally own both kinds of dummies, since it is virtually impossible to practice submission moves on dummies that are designed for throwing and striking.
On the other hand, submission dummies are in the wrong position to practice throws and strikes, and they are a good deal lighter than throwing dummies, making throws too easy, and not challenging enough. My advice – get one of each.
Important considerations when buying a grappling dummy.
If it’s a throwing and striking dummy, consider weight. It should be light enough for you to move, but heavy enough to make throws a real challenge. Dummies dedicated to submissions should be flexible enough for you to apply moves on, but not so flexible that it becomes too easy.
The limbs should only bend at the elbows and at the knees – the arms and legs should remain rigid, or there will not be sufficient realism to learn techniques correctly. Ideally, your dummy’s limbs will also return to the position they were in at the start when you release pressure. All dummies should more or less match you in height, for greater realism in training sessions.
Make sure your grappling dummy is versatile.
Look at the dummy’s capability of movement – where its limbs bend. Then visualize different techniques and maneuvers, and think about whether you will be able to apply them on the dummy or not. If you can’t apply at least eighty percent of your submission drills on a submission dummy you’re looking at, look at another version.
Make sure that any grappling dummy you buy is durable
These training aids are relatively expensive, and you want yours to be an investment, not a waste of money. Look at the material it is made of – is it resilient? Also, look at the stitching that holds the dummy together. Is it held together with strong, corded stitches, in multiple, not single or double, rows?
If you’re a BJJ, Ju Jutsu or Judo exponent, make sure that your dummy can be slipped into a gi, so that you can practice gi-based techniques and maneuvers.