Sunday, March 29, 2015

Structure In The Gym

Shah and Dani came in on Saturday, and I was glad to see them.  I sure wish I had more kids like them in the gym.  They have been showing up mostly every day, they follow the gym routine, and their parents are interested in them participating in the program.  Best of all, neither of the girls are discipline problems.  I was able to get them to do a little light sparring.  Hopefully, they'll want to spar again next week.

It took awhile for me to figure it out, but the youths need structure in the gym.  Finally, I have a written gym routine on the bulletin board.  Some kids, unfortunately, are dead set against following what has been set in place.  Those are the kids who I have make phone calls to their parents along the lines of, "I don't think boxing is a good fit for your kid."

LJ and his brother Marq came in the gym and got yet another registration form.  I've grown weary of them telling me they want to learn how to box, but not following through.  Shah and Dani are their cousins, and LJ was teasing them.

Suddenly, LJ turned on Marine, declaring several times, "I want to fight you!" Marine was wary, but he didn't snap back on LJ.  I watched the scene closely in case it got heated.  It is so hard to get most of the kids to stop equating boxing with street-fighting.  I believe that LJ has some talent, but I've got to get his mind right.  That is, if LJ ever commits himself to actually sign up for the gym.

The adult class, when it begins this summer, will be easier to run.  Once adults are shown the basics, then it is up to them what they want to get out of the workout.  In other words, I can leave them to their own devices for the most part. There's less hand-holding when it comes to adults.

No word yet on when the new ring will be installed, nor whether I'll get the heavy bag stands I need.  If I had thought when I initially put in an order for equipment, I would have requested a Bob the boxing bag (shown in the photo above). Questions about putting another Cobra bag in the gym come up, mainly from the kids who misused and broke the last bag.  Bob will be a better substitute, I believe, and it'll be harder to destroy.  Eventually I will get one in the gym, but I'll have to push for it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Solved Mystery

The other day, I arrived at the gym to find the only new equipment that was left was the pieces of the new ring that will be installed.  The other equipment -- gloves, mouth pieces, etc. -- was gone.  I assumed that Tommy had taken it on to other gyms that had also ordered equipment.  Come to find out that staff at LaFollette had moved it into another room, locked it, and forgot to tell me.  So I was able to pull out the rest of the equipment I needed.  I'm still waiting on stands to put up the light and heavy bags, however.

Lo, and behold, here comes Talky, Tough, and their brother TI.  They are moving soon, but will remain in the neighborhood.  "After we move, we'll only be able to come to the gym on Saturdays," Talky informed me.  None of them train as it is, and showing up once a week certainly isn't going help them learn the sport properly.  TI was very interested in the list of park district boxing shows that I have posted up.  However, I have no plans to put TI in any of the boxing shows unless TI takes training seriously.

Tough has an annoying habit of "helping" whenever new kids arrive in the gym.  I have two new girls, one eleven, and one twelve.  While I was given them an orientation, Tough was also giving instructions as if she was the coach.  However, since she hardly trains and doesn't show up to the gym half the time, she not qualified to give out information.  After a few times of me telling her "excuse me, I'm talking", and then me straight out ignoring her, she finally got the hint and shut up.

Tough claimed that I never showed her how to do an overhand right.  I corrected her real fast, pointing out that I showed her and Talky how to do that a long time ago.  I also told her that if she would have trained consistently, she would not have forgotten how to do it.

Angel has become a good help to me in the gym.   She's also harder on the kids who consistently play around than I am.  When those kids give her an attitude, I back Angel up.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, Angel is correct.

I also have backup from Coach J, the football/basketball/baseball coach.  He came in the gym the other day to sign up another new kid for the spring session, 14 year old TR.  Coach J walked in the gym just as some of the kids were acting up and showing out.  He told me in front of them, "Any of these kids get out of line, send them to me."

TR just might be a good prospect.  He told me, "I can't wait to box."  We went over the basic stance, and jabs and rights.  I'm beginning to see more kids like him who come in the gym and actually want to learn.  If I had classes full of youths like that, it might be easier to nullify the few kids who don't or refuse to have the dedication.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday South Side Sparring

My day started very early with the long ride out to LaFollette Park on the far west side to pick up Marine.  However, I steeled myself for something going wrong, and it did.  Marine had over a week to ask his parents could he go to a sparring session at Davis Square Park.  He waited to ask them this morning, and they told him no.  I'm assuming that his brother Curly wouldn't been able to go either mostly because of an injury Curly had at school a few days ago.

I pushed my irritation aside and made another long trip out to the south side where Davis Square Park is located.  I planned to go out there regardless if I had no fighters with me.  That's one of the field houses with a boxing program that I had not visited before.  Fortunately, the trains and buses were moving along at a good place.  I got there in good time.  Eddie, who is the boxing coach there, was still setting up as people came in.  In addition to his fighters, Simons Park and Fuller Park were represented.  I learned that Humboldt Park and Portage Park aren't the only two places that need a boxing coach.  It appears there is no coach currently at Seward Park, either.  "These coaches have to be patient," Marty, the Simons Park coach, told me.  "Things aren't going to happen overnight."

Angel came in with her step dad, her little sister, and her grandparents.  It looked as if she was not going to have anyone to spar with, as there were no other female boxers available.  Lucky for us, one of the teenage boys agreed to spar with her.  I gave Angel the best advice I could give, but I see where we need to work on the delivery of her punches and her footwork.  Her opponent was not hitting her as hard as he could have, but he wasn't letting her catch him often.

Marty and Eddie both gave me an idea to have a similar type of sparring show at LaFollette Park.  The field house is not open on Sundays, but I could possibly have something on a Friday or Saturday.  There is also the possibility of having a female only sparring session to help out the girls and women who may not be getting enough sparring practice elsewhere, and even less chances to have regular fights.  It's something for me to work on.