A boxing team is a family. We all have our roles. Things get ugly, but ultimately we really care about one another. Boxing is a hugely passionate sport that brings up a lot of emotion. Coaches aren’t exempt from this…..we all really do have our roles. We have our strengths and our downfalls.
I don’t think I’m the average coach. I know my ways are different. I’m not so old school in my approaches as other boxing coaches. I sit back and watch a lot and take things in. I’m not into breaking a boxer. I like for them to learn about their patterns and to make their changes themselves versus me forcing them. I listen a lot and wait for action until I’m clear that my interjection won’t interrupt the unfolding of something important. I like the opinions and styles of tons of different people. Sometimes this means I absorb a little too much and it can get to me over time.
I allow my boxers to give me a lot of feedback. Often times I’m accused of letting my boxers run me, or that I give them too much and I don’t do enough to keep them in their place. Well, it also works the other way.
I bring in outside influences so I can learn new things and see new styles. My boxers can feel as if I am being run by other people. In my other blog tonight, I referenced how my viewpoint was not the experience of the boxer in the ring. My style of sitting back and observing jeopardized the trust I have worked so hard to build. They felt completely unsupported and that I was just going along with a different style. Ultimately, my inaction caused more harm than learning. I allowed a person with the style of “breaking” someone to come in and I didn’t really prepare my team for how this would be. I didn’t recognize when the “breaking” had gone past a point that was working.
Because I sat back and watched what was unfolding versus stepping in and asking the situation to stop, we had a huge flare up. Some of my boxers felt as if I was being run and taking it versus seeing that it is the same style I employ with them.
I am fully responsible for this viewpoint because I didn’t take a minute to explain how I was taking things in and they are used to that. When I needed to listen, I defended instead and this further exacerbated the situation.
My lack of communication resulted in a much bigger lack of communication which resulted in a lot of hurt, despair and feeling humiliated and berated. It resulted in a feeling that I caved to another style and that I wouldn’t step up and step in if needed. I’ve created doubt. Ultimately, it disrupted the team cohesion.
In hindsight, I’d rather have the cohesion disrupted less dramatically. In the end this will probably be good for us all, but I can’t say as the method I chose to stick with was……a little too painful and too much of a risk of losing trust for good, which is really important from the corner to the ring.