Sunday, September 10, 2017

Different Approaches To Ages

Yesterday, I completed one of the last administrative tasks I had to do before the fall session begins this week.  I put the new class rosters and attendance sheets in the program binder.  I printed extra rosters to turn in at the next boxing show I attend.  All the boxing coaches are required to provide verification to the head of the boxing program that fighters they bring to the shows are actually registered for the program.

After wavering back and forth, I decided not to attend the show that's coming up at Davis Square this week.  I wanted to go because I haven't been there since I had one of my fighters participate in a sparring session there.  But I have a big number of new people starting the class this week in addition to people like Janaja and Lauren who haven't been in the gym for awhile.  I don't want to start the session by shutting down the gym, even though it would only be for one day.  I'm not going to Bessemer Park either, which is the following week, for the same reason.

You see, I have a lesson plan that I follow loosely from the second week on.  A lot of what goes in the gym depends on the participants, what they need to work on, their skill levels, etc.  However, the first week is basically set in stone: new people and those who are picking up the sport again after a period of time are taught the punches and basic head movement and footwork the first week.  Any disruption to that first week throws people off.  But having explained that, those who start skipping days from the beginning -- and unfortunately, a lot of people do -- I have to treat like teachers used to do when I was in grade and high school.  None of my teachers were going to hold up the entire class because of one or two students who missed classes for whatever reason.  People had to play catch up and learn those lessons when there was a little time in the class to do that.

I believe I've become better at working with the kids mainly because that is the age group I've had to deal with the most.  Several people came in to sign up for the boxing class this past Friday (the last-minute rush I predicted) and the teen class currently has nine people, the most that have been there for some time.  To an extent, I have to re-learn how to deal with a large group of teens; for the longest time, Ariel was the only teenager coming to the gym.  Mikala and Noel are good youths I know, but Janaja and Lauren who were there before? Ariel, Janaja was only there once in a blue moon, and Lauren never gave me the impression that she was overly interested in the sport.  The thing with teens is they have more independence than those twelve years and under.  They also don't have that, "I better listen to Mama, Daddy, Grandma, etc., or else I'm going to be in big trouble," either.  They speak up (or talk back as mine and other old school parents would put it) when they don't want to do something.  They're not grown, but one has to acknowledge they're not far from adulthood and be more of a mentor.

The nice thing about working with adults in the gym is that they don't need their hands held as much as the kids and some of the teens do.  Show them what to do and they are cool.  I've never had to raise my voice because an adult was acting out in the gym; those type of situations, unlike with the younger kids, never come up.  Also, they don't need me to stand over them constantly.  They ask a lot of questions and really listen and incorporate what they learn.

I'm going to observe closely how Saturdays are working this fall session because frankly, they haven't been for the past two and a half years.  People traditionally do not show up to the gym on that day, and most are surprised to find the gym is not open on Monday.  It would be better to have the gym open Monday thru Friday not only because Saturday doesn't appear to be a good fit on any one's schedule, but I would also be out of Coach James' way.  His football and baseball games take place on the weekends and his sports equipment is stored in rooms off of the boxing gym (which is closer access to the football and baseball fields). His teams could come through the gym without disturbing my class nor hear me snap on them for messing with the heavy and speed bags. If Saturdays continue to be quiet like they have been, I'm going to push again to have the gym closed on that day and open on Monday instead.  Steve, my supervisor, wants the gym open on Saturday, but I have the evidence -- attendance records -- to hopefully change his mind before the winter session arrives.

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