Boxing is full of difficult things. You cannot grow in the ring without constantly facing yourself in life.
It’s a beautiful dance of growing in life then improving in the ring and growing in the ring then improving in life. Each boxer has their rhythm and patterns in this balance.
As a coach, my job is to point out patterns and where I see the boxer has hit a block in growth in training. I can give them my feedback as to whether I think it’s something inside the ring or an old mental/emotional habit taking over.
Our bodies are the perfect truth tellers. We expose our confidences, fears, desperations, intent, effectiveness, and failings. Our bodies tell the outside world if we are present or if we are stuck somewhere else. The hardest part for a boxer is coming out of the ring and dealing with the exposure. To have to listen to verbal feedback when very physical things were or weren’t working during the round. It’s challenging to have to take the verbal feedback and make it physical again.
And what does the boxer do when in his/her body and mind they experience something completely different than the feedback they get from the outside?
What does the coach do when the boxer is in this contradiction?
I’ve found that it’s important to hold a boundary of expectation. I can hold the space for the desired skill level. I can patiently and sometimes sternly wait there until the boxer is ready to let go and achieve. I can be patient as they go away and welcome them back with open arms.
When they are ready to advance they will, and it is the coaches job to push sometimes, pull back others……that can be a difficult task!