It’s a very different experience preparing for fights as a coach versus being a boxer.
As a boxer, I obsessed about my amateur fight at least a week in advance, and when I was in the pros, I obsessed about it the moment I signed a contract. I constantly worried about a million things….how I would perform, could I handle the person’s power, what would people think, would they like the way I fight, would I know what to do and on and on.
As a coach, I deal with preparing for several people and all their energy before a fight. Fights are made and fall through several times. Jockeying about weight happens between the coaches. I observe my boxers behaviours and have to learn the balance between making room for their experience and stepping in to make sure they stay present. Every boxer has their own habits, rituals, neurosis and confidences. I’m learning more and more how important my ability to have a solid communicating relationship with every boxer is key. If they are to go in the ring and trust themselves and trust my advice, we better have practiced communicating as many hours as they put into boxing skills.
I find this the same in life, in all relationships. The importance of communication is paramount. We must be able to talk openly to the folks we depend on most. We must be able to be all aspects of ourselves without fearing retribution. This takes so much practice.
I am incredibly impressed with the boxers I work with. They are increasingly honest with themselves and more honest with me. Their presence before fights and during them is increasing as well. We are doing what boxing is supposed to do……it is supposed to take care of everything. Everything that aches inside and outside of you. Boxing is giving us the platform to increase our vulnerability and access our strength as coaches, as boxers, as family members and gym members.
I am grateful for this gym, the team I work with and their consistent appreciation and gratitude for all I bring to the ring to help them bring all of themselves to the ring.