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Old 12-07-2012, 01:41 AM
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Default What does it take to become a great trainer?

I want to talk a little about what I believe it takes to become a good boxing trainer. I had an extensive amateur career and also boxed pro. I have been involved as a fighter or trainer in boxing for over 25 years now. I gave up on my dream early because of a family but now I enjoy training fighters and have been in many gyms around the country. I am currently training some really good prospects in a pro gym.

I believe there are 4 steps in what it takes to be a good trainer.

Step #1 - Know your stuff

Basically this means understanding the basics of boxing. This is something anyone can do if they study hard enough. Starting with stance, balance, movement, defense and offense.

All the 101's of boxing. It takes along time because boxing is a martial art like Karate or Kung Fu. It takes years to understand the intricacies of the sport, but you don't need to be a former fighter or have experience in boxing to know this aspect of it.

Step #2 - Applying that knowledge for boxing

Ok so this may sound redundant but it's very important to understand the difference between knowing what to do and when to apply that knowledge. For example, you can understand that circling right against a right handed fighter is the common thing but is it always right?

What if the opponent has a great left hook? In boxing, like all fighting styles, you don't just do what is expected, sometimes you need to think outside of the box but do so intelligently and with an understanding of your opponent. Doing what is text book or what you see in videos, is not always the right thing to do.

This is why sparring is the greatest tool in teaching a young fighter. At the end of the day, you can watch all the videos, read all the books and buy all the DVD's you want, but unless you have gotten in the ring and understand what to tell a fighter about what he is seeing SPECIFICALLY, it won't teach you how to fight.

Step #3 - Being a good teacher

This one might arguably be the most important of all the prerequisites needed to be a good trainer. I have known great trainers, with 30,40, 50 years of experience in boxing. Former fighters, and students of the game that are TERRIBLE trainers. Why? Because they can't relay the information in a way that the fighter understands.

It takes patience, calmness, proper wording and showing things in a way where it "clicks" with fighters. I personally think this is my greatest attribute. I don't claim to know everything in boxing but I have the utmost patience, and can simplify things and organize information in a way where fighters get it.

It's more than just teaching the X's and O's though, it's also knowing how to deal with your fighters mental state. Recently for example, I was in another gym where they had this kid sparring hard a week out of his fight. First, I never do that because I want him to be fresh and don't want to risk injury or a cut. A fighter in my opinion should stop sparring about 2 weeks prior to his fight.

Second, he got beat up a little in sparring and you don't want that to be the last experience he has inside the ring because it can hurt his confidence. Even the most fighter can have his confidence broken if you allow him to have his last sparring session go bad. The mind and heart are connected and you need him peaking physically and mentally for the fight, that's the job of the trainer.

Step #4 - Working the corner

These are all the extra things you learn with experience. How to wrap hands, tie gloves properly, use an end swell, stop a broken nose from bleeding, stopping a cut, timing in the corner, and using all the little tools of the trade.

These may not seem overly important but they are. Getting your fighter prepared, and working his corner in an efficient way is very important to being a good trainer and professional.

This comes with time and experience and everyone has their own way of doing certain things and even fighters want you to do things differently to make them feel more comfortable. So you also need to know the different things that fighters like to make them more at ease.

So those are the basic outlines of what it takes to be a good trainer. I personally enjoy teaching, it's what I believe I am on this earth to do. I especially like working with kids, but eventually my work has moved me into the pro ranks.

I love this sport with all my heart and soul. I believe it to be the greatest sport on the planet and have respect for anyone who has ever fought amateur or pro.

The least thing I like about this sport is the ego's invloved. Not only in the fighters but in the "trainers" that seem to want more attention on them, than on the fighters they train. I don't do this to sell something and I don't do it for the money (even though I want to make money, don't get me wrong)

I do it because I have to. Something inside of me forces it out, I can't stay away from a sweaty, smelly gym and the sounds that come out of it is something I can't live without.

I hope this has helped some people out and if you want to comment feel free to.
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