Amateur boxing is a good sport for young people not only for the exercise, but also because it teaches discipline and good sportsmanship. But before placing a child into a boxing program, here are some tips that may be helpful.
1. Find out the average age of the participants. A third grader may not fare well in a class where most of the other students are in sixth grade. See if there are separate classes for younger kids, pre-teens, and teenagers.
2. Know the boxing coach’s credentials. How long have they been working with kids? What is their approach with dealing with students who may be shy? What is their training style? Does the coach know first aid and CPR?
3. Examine the equipment. Ask how old the bags, weights, etc. are and when the last time they were replaced or updated. If the gym provides boxing gloves and headgear, inquire how often they are cleaned.
4. Check if the gym’s hours of operation will work with you and your child’s schedule.
5. Learn if sparring and competing are optional or required. Boxing involves hitting and being hit. If children decide after one sparring session that they would rather just do the workout only, how does the coach handle this? If a child is upset after losing a match, what will the coach say to them? What measures will the coach take to make sure your child is safe while participating?
6. Ask what the coach’s expectations are of the parents. Does the coach need parents to volunteer in the gym from time to time? What help will the coach need from the parents when the kids are involved in boxing competitions? If fundraisers are done for the gym, will the parents be expected to participate?
7. Inquire if the coach gives progress reports. How does the coach measure the progress of the boxing students? How is the progress, if any, communicated to the parents?
8. Be aware of gender bias. There are still boxing coaches who do not want to train girls. If both sexes are in the gym, check if both males and females are treated equally in terms of training.
You may have more questions — don’t hesitate to ask until you are satisfied with what you learn. Once you find a gym that both you and your young warrior are comfortable with, give them your support and cheer them on!