Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Getting The Right Boxing Participants

I'm not going to name names, but I know of some boxing coaches who meet new participants at the door of their public and private gyms and ask, "You're gonna compete, right?"  Before people think, wow, some coaches have a one-track mind, I can understand their reasoning.

Personally, I would like to see the youths in the boxing program at LaFollette Park bring home some trophies and belts.   But based on what I've experienced so far, that's going to take a lot more work than I originally anticipated.  Kids not having focus is my number one problem in the program, followed by a general lack of motivation, as well as a lack of discipline.

Over past few weeks since the boxing gym has been out of commission, I've spent a lot of time watching the youths play basketball in the boys' gym.  There's a lot of focus and motivation displayed by the kids in that program.  The coach of that program doesn't have to work as hard as I have to in order to get respect and have order.  However, he's been there longer than I have, and that program has been running for a long time.  The boxing program has not, and I have to set standards.

I've come to the conclusion that I can't have a gym primarily full of youths who:

1.  want to play instead of train
2.  do not take the training seriously
3.  can't get the concept of "you get out of it what you put into it"
4.  appear not to have much in the way of "home training"
5.  can't understand that professional wrestling and mixed martial arts have no place in boxing
6.  attempt to do what they want to do despite of established procedures and rules
7.  disrespect me

I'm not crazy enough to believe that I will never have any problem students.  There are even problem adults in the park district's boxing programs (Igor and Jordan at Loyola Park come to mind).  In addition to being an instructor, I have to make the experience fun for everyone.  But I can't allow constant distractions and disruptions to go on in my class.  So I going to have to weed people out.

Some will decide on their own that boxing is not for them and drop out.  I've already had that happen. I'm not mad about that; it's cool.  I'd rather someone figure it out early on.  Unfortunately, some will learn the hard way that boxing is not a sport that is played: they'll get hurt during sparring or take a bad loss during a regular match and then they will leave.  Still others will keep trying to use the gym as a hang out spot despite of their obvious lack of interest in really learning to box, whether they are signed up or not -- but they will be shown the door.   As another staff member told me, I have to be the adult and take control.

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