Thursday, May 25, 2017

Coaches' Public Service Annoucement

A PSA for parents who have kids enrolled in boxing classes:

I, nor any other coach is there to coddle them. That's what daycare and nurseries are for. That's what Miss Crabtree, or Mr. Jones, or whatever the names of your kids' grade and high school teachers are, may be doing. 

I'm not there to teach your kid how to beat up some other kid in school or in the neighborhood who is picking on them. I am aware that most schools have zero tolerance for violence policies, and I and not going to contribute to violating those policies. Teach them how to hand out those types of beat downs at home, like my mother taught me at home, if you want the kids to be able to defend themselves. Boxing is a sport, and I'm preparing your kid for competitions, not for scraps out on these streets.

I'm not paid to babysit, and I seldom do that in my personal life, so don't use my gym as a spot to push the kids off on me because y'all don't want to be bothered with them.  I might get personal and ask why y'all wanted to have kids in the first place.  

If a kid is being disruptive and disrespectful, I will turn into my mother on them. And while I can't put my hands on your kids, I can and will hurt their feelings to the quick if they try me. 

Don't complain about me admonishing and/or yelling at your kids when they are not focused because my job is to push them to be the best they can be while they are in the ring. I used to compete, so I know how easy it is to get injured. I don't have time for lazy, unmotivated, uncoachable kids.

Don't get an attitude when I suggest that your kid should sign up for a different sport or activity when it's obvious they don't want to be in boxing. 

Don't expect your kid to learn how to box if they can't show up to train every day.  No, your kid can't train for two or more sports at one time, especially if all the practices are going on at the same time. They need to stick to one whether it's the one I coach or another sport in order to get good at it. I have a lesson plan that covers the several days the gym is open not one day.  I don't have time to keep up where I left off regarding your kid's training when they are showing up to gym one day and missing several other days.

Don't assume that boxing is a good fit for a special needs child, or a child who is dealing with some other mental, emotional or physical issue. First of all, I'm not a medical doctor nor mental health professional. Don't send some social worker to convince me to take your child in my gym.  Talk to me before you enroll them, whether the kid has an issue or not. I need to tell you about the program and what the expectations for your kids are so we are all on the same page.

Don't expect your kid to be first in line always when I've got to deal with the other kids in the gym, too. Their parents expect me to give them attention, too. 

Don't bring along your other kids, nieces, nephews, godchildren, grandchildren, young cousins, and friends' kids to the gym if they aren't signed up for the class.  The kids who are actually in the class don't need to be distracted while training.  I'm not going to give lessons to kids who aren't on my attendance sheet, and they aren't going to be allowed to touch the equipment.  

No, your kid may not get a fight every time we go to a boxing show because there may not be a suitable opponent available for their age, weight, and experience.  I'm not even going to consider putting them in a fight if I know they haven't trained enough for one, and that will be my final decision. It's not up for discussion.  If the kid gets a fight and doesn't win, I'm not going to argue with the referee and judges in a vain attempt to try and change their decisions.  I'm not going to tolerate a parent causing a scene because they think their kid was "robbed".  I'm also not going to tolerate a kid who is a sore loser.  

Yes, I DO mind when I'm being told how to run the gym and a parent thinks they have a right to play coach when I'm already doing the job. If a parent wants to be a volunteer, fill out the application and submit to a background check.  Even if accepted as a volunteer, parents need to never lose sight of the fact that there is only one boss in the gym, and that's me.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

When Kids Disappear, So Do Their Opportunities

Ariel got in trouble with her grandmother the other day.  Grandma showed up unexpectedly to pick her up from the gym, but Ariel wasn't there.  The girl dropped in briefly to drop off her book bag.  "I'll be back," she told me, but a half-hour went by.  Ariel's been doing that since she's been taking the class.  Whenever she starts talking about getting a fight, I remind her that she needs to show up more often to train, as well as remain for the entire class time.  Grandma was not happy to find that Ariel wasn't where she was supposed to be.  In fact, it was discovered that the girl wasn't even inside the field house.  "Too much goes on out here in the streets for these kids to just roam around," her grandmother said, and I agreed.  I suspect both the grandmother and her mother had a deep conversation with Ariel when she got home.

Iz and his brother Abraham have been absent for a couple of days.  David had no chance to spar yesterday because of that.  It concerns me because Iz and Abraham have already signed up for the summer class (as has David).  I can buy the excuses about arriving late most days because of having to travel from school.  I know that they miss one day every week due to swimming.  But their tardiness and disappearances here and there are not going to cut it next session.  They won't have school as an excuse, and the boxing shows will be happening.

Commitment from the youths has always been in short supply in the boxing program.  No matter how many times I tell the youths (and parents/guardians) that opportunities, like competing for example, and sparring, to an extent are not going to be available to them because of poor training habits and poor attendance, it doesn't sink in.  I'm beginning to suspect there's a willful lack of wanting to listen.  So I'm fully prepared to take the heat when I deny youths opportunities in the program because of their own actions.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Recognizing Potential

J, a trainer at LaFollette Park, has taken an interest in Ariel regarding her training.  He had her skip rope 500 times the other day.  She did it with ease.  He's not the only one who's always checking for her down at the gym.  People are very interested in watching her train because she has good potential when it comes to competing.  Unfortunately, Ariel doesn't show up to the gym consistently.  I would like to schedule sparring sessions for her with other fighters within the park district, but her attendance, on top of the fact that she's female, makes that hard to do.

I had to lightly admonish Iz and his brother Abraham this past Saturday.  They showed up to the gym on Friday -- late, as usual -- found the door locked and didn't check around enough to learn that I was there.  In their defense, I might have forgotten to open the door that leads to the other set of doors that open into the gym.  It's happened from time to time.  But if they would at least had kicked and banged on the door, I would have heard that.  So those two missed out on sparring.  They were in the field house on Saturday because they opt to go to swimming instead of boxing on that day.

There's been no more talk about the seniors having their own boxing class.  A class for them should have been on for this spring.  I keep hearing that those who are supposedly interested in boxing haven't met yet to decide when they want to take the class.  The idea was presented to them back in February, and now, it is May.  I'm over it at this point.  I was willing to run the class, but I don't have time for this "we can't make up our minds" stuff.  My priorities now are to keep the summer camp kids out of my gym as much as possible this summer, preparing people for the boxing shows, and focus on getting the adult boxing class back on the schedule for fall.