Congratulations on becoming a boxing coach! Amateur boxing is one of the safest sports that youths can participate in. Working with youths can be rewarding, but it also has its challenges. In order to make the gym run smoother, here are some tips.
1. Meet with the parents before they sign up their kids for boxing. Parents and kids need to know what boxing is and what it is not. Explain your coaching style. Take them on a tour of the gym. The idea is to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
2. Be wary of parents who force their kids to take up boxing in order to “toughen” them up and/or to teach their kids how to handle bullies. If the kid doesn’t want to be there, it will be very hard for the coach to motivate them.
3. Recruit volunteers for the gym. These could be parents and/or other interested adults who would like to help train the kids and help out in the gym. Volunteers are valuable, especially when boxing shows and tournaments take place. Also, if there are a lot of students in the gym, volunteers can help take some of the load off of the coach.
4. Always be open to suggestions and advice. But make it clear there is only one boss in the gym.
5. Deal with discipline problems quickly. All it takes is for one kid to act out, then all the others will follow suit. Having to gain re-control of a class takes up valuable training time. Take the kid aside and talk to them about their behavior as to not embarrass them in front of the other kids. If the behavior continues, meet with their parents. It could be that boxing is not a good fit, and the kid would be happier in another activity.
6. Be aware of the students’ heights, weight, and abilities. I’ve had to ask some 12 year olds to sign up for the teens’ class because not only were they bigger and taller than I, but bigger and taller than most of the kids in the class for the eight to 12 year olds.
7. Focus levels vary among students. One way to combat a lack of focus is to keep everyone busy. Do drills, have exercises, have them work on the equipment… keep them moving!
8. Boxing can be a tough sell to girls, particularly teenage girls who may be concerned about their image among their peers. Emphasize the health benefits of training to them.
9. Be firm, but refrain from heavy criticism, yelling, screaming, etc. Make the time in the gym fun for all and always offer encouragement.