Sunday, August 31, 2014

Thoughts About Being A Boxing Coach

Now that I'm the person running a gym as opposed to being a patron and volunteer, it has occurred to me that coaches need support as much as fighters do.  These are my opinions.  Feel free to comment and add other tips. 

1.  Hang out with other coaches.  I still call on Alan at Loyola Park, and keep in contact with Steve, who was the coach there before him.  I'm friendly with several Chicago Park District boxing coaches (Bill, Jack, George, Rodney, etc.), and I know a professional boxing coach (Fernando).  They can offer advice on how to handle different situations, share training techniques, as well as be sympathetic sounding boards when people need to vent. 

2.  Don't forget about others in the fight game.  Promoters, referees, fight doctors, timekeepers, managers, etc.  They are also good sources for advice and information.

3. Family and friends.  I've chronicled my late parents, my stepmother, my late younger sister, and some of my friends' negative reactions to me being involved in boxing.  But I have some cheerleaders.  Always be appreciative of whatever support is gained from this group and let them know what's going on.

4.  Books and DVD.  In an recent post, I mentioned that I've been reviewing some boxing books in my library to get ideas about how to help the fighters I'll be training.  There are also helpful DVDs available about boxing, in addition to other connected subjects such as strength training and nutrition.

5.  Prayer and meditation.  Don't laugh; it works.  Some days in the gym can be tough, and some people's personalities can be trying.  Pray, read your religious texts (Bible, Torah, Koran, I-Ching, etc.), meditate 15 to 20 minutes a day, take deep breaths, chant, count to ten, whatever it takes to remain centered and keep cool. 

6.  Exercise.  I remember Steve telling me that it's hard for a coach to get a workout in because they are helping others.  This is true.  If possible, get a workout in before anyone else gets to the gym.  If there is time at the end, do a workout then.  Otherwise, plan another time, but don't neglect the workout.  I think it's very helpful for a boxing coach to stay fresh on their skills because it helps when training others how to fight. 

7.  Be helpful to co-workers.  This is especially applicable if a boxing coach is an employee in a municipal park district (like me), or employed by a health club franchise.  Just the other day, a kid came up to the front desk and said the basketball gym floor was wet.  I could have just reported it to the attendants, but they were busy doing other tasks.  Instead, I went and got a mop.  I've learned a long time ago that always having a "that's not my job" attitude doesn't fly in any type of workplace.  The benefits of having a team attitude is that one needs help, it will be reciprocated. 

8.  Work in cooperation with parents.  The pastor of the church I used to attend didn't think that it was important to partner with parents in helping to make the youth ministry successful.   I never understood the pastor's line of thinking.  In my opinion, the youth ministry was not successful partially because of that.  If a boxing coach is training youths, they have to have good communication with the youths' parents and guardians and encourage them to be involved.  Parents should not be shut out of the process. 

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