Firstly – I want to say that most boxing gyms are very welcoming places that are far removed from the dusty smoke filled image you saw in the movies. Often it’s OK to just turn up at a gym, but it might be better to call first in case they reserve certain days/times for newcomers/novice fighters. When you do go, you’ll quickly find that boxers are some of the most genuine people you will ever meet.
OK, so you’ve decided to get involved in the sport and your next step is finding a boxing trainer.
Or maybe I should say find a “good” boxing trainer as there are many out there who do more harm than good.
Well, a boxing trainer should be certified by a nationally recognised organisation, and be sure to check that the trainer also has liability insurance.
Having said all that though, I’ll let you into a wee secret – One of the best trainers I ever had wouldn’t know a “coaching certificate” if it jumped up and bit him on the arse, he didn’t have insurance, nor did he know much about nutrition or the business side of the sport. BUT he sure knew what he was talking about when it came to teaching boxing skills and was also excellent at motivation, that was definitely good enough for me. So thanks for everything “Auld Jimmy.”
One of the most important things required to be a good trainer is the ability to communicate, and he could do that. Sure they have to know their facts and have good techniques, but that doesn’t count for much if they are unable to get their point across, or if they complicate things so much you can’t understand what the hell they’re talking about.
A good trainer will also know what motivates you personally, as there will be many times when you are pushed beyond your limits.
So…Firstly check out your local boxing gyms as watching their trainer’s in action can tell you a lot. Do their fighters look sloppy or are you quite impressed? What references do they have? Are there any local champs or pro fighters in there?
Once you take the plunge and begin with a trainer, your early sessions are going to give you an idea of just how good your boxing trainer is. If he’s throwing you out to spar immediately, then you are going to want to consider finding a different trainer. NO quality trainer is going to risk you getting injured when they don’t even know your capabilities. So, make sure that you have a trainer that wants to take the time to figure out what type of boxer you are first, and maybe several weeks later he will get you sparring with other boxers of similar ability.
The first thing that a boxing coach is probably going to want to do with you, is give you an all around test to see where you are at aerobically, anaerobically, and mentally.
To do this, they are going to apply a variety of tests that will obviously vary from one coach to another, but one of the main thing they are going to have you do that is pretty consistent, is get you to take punches at them while they wear the practice pads.
By doing this, they get an up close look at how you punch, your style, stance, movement, reach, power, etc.
A good coach will quickly pick up on the parts you need to work on, offering advice and suggesting certain training routines to start correcting things.
They will probably also have you run a mile as fast as you can, to see where you are at aerobically. They won’t expect you to beat any world records, but they’d be looking for a time of around 6/7 minutes from their fighters. If you can manage that, then great. If not, it doesn’t matter as the training will soon have you reaching those kinds of times anyway.
Next, you can generally expect them to test out your anaerobic fitness. To do this, they are maybe going to have you go several rounds with a punching dummy…Yeah that sounds easy until you try it.
So give it a few weeks with your new trainer and see how things progress – If you have never worked so hard in your life, feel fitter than you’ve ever felt before, learned something new at almost every training session and been pushed past all your limits, then you have probably found a decent boxing trainer.
You will often form a very close relationship, as he will become a mentor and a friend.