Self expression is the reason most of us box. We find empowerment in using our physicality to let deep emotions come through without having to discuss them. Things we feel and could be chastised for in life are perfectly ok on the heavy bag and in the ring.
In life, self expression is usually discouraged when it results in squashing another person. But, a competitive boxer must be willing to use self expression completely to the detriment of their opponent. The boxer must obliterate the others ability to speak up and be themselves. They must impose their will upon another and not be swayed by any distraction.
What about self expression as a coach? I hung up my competitive gloves in 2007 and no longer have the opportunity to obliterate another person’s expression without it being a detriment. How can my expression come through my boxer and they stay uniquely themselves? Coaches face this dilemma all the time. How to get their own needs met while encouraging the new guard of competitive boxers to let themselves out of the confines they have put themselves in.
Not an easy task at all.
I’ve come to think of training and coaching as more of a collaboration. This mentality immediately satisfies part of the expression dilemma. Collaboration puts me in the learning mindset and opens my vision and perspective. If I am learning off my boxer, chances are they are learning too. If we are both learning, then expression is primary. The boxer is invested in the process and accountable for their outcomes as am I.
Collaboration can occur with with all skill levels…from the beginner to the elite Every person brings something unique to the ring and if a coach is completely set on having only their needs met and expressed, the uniqueness will be missed.
I am still refining how I guide collaboration and am still prone to wanting things my way, but I am finding this process far more rewarding as I see the results coming out of the recreational and competitive boxers I work with.