Saturday, July 08, 2017

Fine Tuning

Jamire didn't show up in the gym yesterday, and I was a little concerned.  The day before he told Maurice's mom that he liked boxing, but I don't believe that's totally true.  The other kids are looking forward to participating in the boxing shows, but Jamire has already been waffling about whether or not he wants to fight.  It reminds me of Ben, who used to be in the program over a year ago.  Ben never wanted to spar unless he could "win", and Ben always had an excuse about not wanting to go to a boxing show.  I wish Jamire would at least try, but then, I don't have high hopes that will happen.

Abraham and his brother Iz sparred again (Maurice will get to spar with them next week).  Abraham tripped over his brother's foot and fell.  The next thing I knew, Abraham was sobbing, and accusing Iz of tripping him on purpose.  Iz doesn't operate out of any malice.  He apologized to his brother, but after they finished sparring, Abraham was crying again to their father.

A guy named David came in, inquiring about signing up his son, who is also named David, up for boxing.  The guy and I had talked about a year ago about his son coming in, but no registration took place.  The 12-years-and-under class is not full even this late into the session, so I told him I'd be glad to welcome his son into the gym.  One advantage the boy has is that his dad has been training him so he could start sparring once he joins the class.  I make kids who are totally new to the sport wait a week to learn the punches and basic footwork before they are allowed to spar.

I was surprised when brother and sister duo Noel and Mikaela (I've been spelling her name wrong before) came in for the teen class.  Those two know what to do.  They don't need me to go over basics with them again.  Just fine tuning.  Both of them have good form.  I complimented Mikaela on how she always stays on the balls of her feet.  Actually, that is how she walks normally.

Mikaela had a hard fight at Garfield Park the night before.  "That girl you fought was a bull," I told her.  Mikaela had been overwhelmed by the constant barrage of punches the other girl had thrown.  "With someone like that," I explained, "going for their head is not a good strategy.  They're so used to rushing in like that so head shots don't faze them because they've taken so many of them.  Body shots have to be done to slow them down."  I had her and her brother work on uppercuts and hooks to the body.

I wished Ariel had come in because she might have been able to get some sparring in with Mikaela.  Unfortunately, Ariel is absent most of the time.  If I see Ariel once during a week that's doing good. Ariel is heavier than Mikaela, and she still needs to learn how to pull her punches during sparring.  But it could work out with me carefully monitoring the action so that no one gets seriously hurt.

Mikaela's mom asked why most male boxing coaches have the female boxers always concentrating on giving out shots to the head.  I think it's because they are concerned about the females taking punches to their chests.  When I sparred more regularly, I seldom wore a chest protector.  Yes, those shots to the chest do sting. But I tell all of the fighters I coach to deliver punches to all of the torso regardless of what gender they are and who they are sparring with.  It is better to mix punches up and practice combinations.  Too many kids talk about getting knockouts instead of utilizing other ways to stop an opponent and gain points.

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