As a boxing coach, I often hear people say they want to box. That they are committed. They want to compete and be the best. They are going to train all the time and work really hard.
I’ve gone through a few phases of reactions after hearing these proclamations.
I used to get so excited and jump in 200% and then the boxer would disappear within 2-3 weeks. I’d feel devastated and frustrated and used. Another one would show up and the same thing. After several experiences of disappointment, I became jaded and just stop believing anyone who made a big statement. After awhile though, I realized that maybe my being jaded kept me from seeing and working with the 1 that could follow through with their stated commitment. I might be driving them away with my stand off reaction.
So, I’m taking another approach and seeing how this one turns out. I ask anyone who wants to compete to spend 3 months as a regular gym member. They pay regular gym member dues, unless they are financially challenged and we work out a different pay scale. After the 3 months, if they are keeping their commitments, they are invited to the competitive team ranks. So far, I have found that most people reveal their patterns and cycles during these 3 months. I don’t spend a ton of time working with them. Little pointers here and there, little tweaks to form, basics review, answering questions, giving some guidance, but not my all in. I’m learning as I go how to do this with less of a protective mindset and thinking of it more as an investment for myself and for the boxer. I use the 3 months to get to know them and for them to get to know me. We find out if we can have a relationship to build or should we part ways as competitive boxer and coach.
Boxing takes a tremendous amount of personal motivation. No matter how bad I want it, if the boxer doesn’t want it as much or more, then, they aren’t really going to be fit for competition. These 3 months are a test in isolation, motivation, work ethic, desire, training habits, life habits, mental focus, emotional awareness and commitment. These 3 months give a person the opportunity to see where they stand and where they fall.
If a boxer gets through these 3 months, then the real work can begin. One can go out for a soccer team and practice for a week then be ready to play on the field. A boxer can train for 6 months to a year and might be ready for the competition ring. This sport is like none other in the demand for complete commitment and devotion to learning about oneself—the good, the bad, the pretty and the ugly. This sport can be the key to finding oneself if the discomfort can be endured and used.
I like this balance of investment between the potential competitor and myself. I think I’m finding out how to stay engaged and learning while asking the other to be responsible for themselves. It’s a relief to find this balance and to keep honing it. With this effort, I think I will enjoy all types of competitors from the local level up to the Olympic and Pro level.
You can be darn sure that I have the self motivation to assist a person to get there, if they are willing to put themselves on the line right beside me!