So what makes a good boxing coach?
I was thinking about this last night - you can more or less tell that you have you a good BJJ or Judo coach not only in the way they teach, but also in how they've gone through the ranks to achieve their belt level/skills, and they should be able to back up their belt level when they spar with their students and others. But I hardly see boxing coaches get in the ring and spar with their students. Drills with focus mitts and bags perhaps, but not actual sparring.
Is it true that they don't actually have to be boxers themselves? By that I mean is it necessary for them to have trained as an amateur or have a career in pro boxing to be a great coach?
How do you "train" to be a coach, much less a good one at that?
So what makes a good boxing coach?
The thing about boxing is that sometimes the best trainers weren't that good as fighters themselves.
Freddie Roach is a good example. He was a solid and decent fighter, but just not athletically gifted. The successes he had as a fighter were based on him learning the sport and preparing himself well.
For guys like him to be competitive at all, they have to be fundamentally sound, intelligent (able to see trends, habits, flaws, etc in their opponents) and they will often adjust their training sessions to suit their next opponent. These traits naturally lend themselves towards producing good coaches.
Most "great" fighters are also physically gifted and are able to do things that "normal" people cant. They're faster, stronger, and have better reflexes than the rest of us.
They can get away with doing some things "wrong", "like a young Ail keeping his hands at his waist and leaning back from punches, because of their superior abilities and talent. As a result, they cant teach this ability to other fighters because they ARE unique in those abilities.
Ray Leonard was a great fighter, but he couldn't cut it as a trainer. He admitted getting frustrated with some of the fighters he worked with, precisely because thy couldn't do things that he used to do effortlessly.
A friend of mine once told me something pretty profound along these lines. "A good fighter is a lot easier to find than a good teacher." See what kind of fighters he's produced and that will tell you about his teaching abilities. Also, pay attention to how his students view him. That will tell you a lot too.
Finally, you dont need to have fought to be a good trainer, but I think it helps. Most of your great trainers have had some ring experience. I personally feel that only someone who's been there can really appreciate and relate to what their fighters are feeling.
Some great points there Chad, I have seen many good boxing coaches that have never boxed, but they take an intrest in the sport and watch and learn!!!
Just because your a good fighter doesn't mean you will be a great coach, look at Tyson for instance, can't imagine him making a very good coach at all!!!
The difference between BBJ coaches and boxing coaches is, fighters in boxing turn up train and go home, my experiance with BJJ is as you move up belt rankings you help to teach and coach, so this is a whole learning proccess most fighters (boxers) never go through!!!
Thanks for your responses.
Is boxing closer to other sports like swimming, tennis, cross country skiing etc in the sense that the coach, the person who is bringing you to the heights of your capabilities, isn't at the level you aspire to be?
As I was saying, in BJJ or Judo or wrestling, the coach is usually at the top of his game (more or less) who can kick your ass at random, or at least a veteran who has been there and done that and is able to bring a wealth of personal experience to his words.
As I was saying in another thread (Q about Ned Beaumont's books) after you pick up the basics of boxing is it just a matter of constant training and repetition of the same basic concepts to develop trigger reflexes and endurance/strength?
chadk - At what point would you stop refining basic techniques for a relative beginner and begin to allow for the guy/girl to find their own style. An exaggerated example, say if you had a young Ali on your hands, at what point do you stop teaching him to hold his hands up and let him do his own thing without running the risk of him developing bad habits that would jeapordise his long term boxing skills?
A lot of a fighter's style is really based on his personality and strengths and instincts. You'd adjust their training accordingly.
Me personally, I like to feel my foe out and look to counter him. Early on, I tend to be really defensive. I'll try to gauge his speed, power, rythm, etc, and I'll throw a few punches and feints his way to see how he responds, before I really open up offensively. That's my style.
You couldn't transform Mike Tyson into a counter punching cutie. It just isn't in his makeup. Nor could you expect Spadafora to be an aggresive brawler. Their personalities and abilities dictate their style.
That's what makes a Ray Robinson, Leonard, ODLH, Barerra, ect, unique. They can effectively fight aggresively or counter.
I guess that the only way I can answer your question is that the fighter will "find" his style and figure out what he's comfortable with and can get away with. A trainers job is to help him maximize his potential and to refine it.
Some trainers are more suited for certain styles than others too. Manny Steward does well with tall rangy guys with decent power. Benton is great for counterpunching cuties. See what I'm saying? Hope so, cause I'm having difficulty putting it to words. LOL
Here's my 2 cents
A good boxing coach is like a good coach in just about
any other sport. You need someone with technical
knowledge, you need someone who can teach, and it
really helps if they've been there before.
While a guy can be a good coach if he's never boxed,
I think that's pretty rare. Would you trust me to
train you in BJJ or Muay Thai if I never trained those
either? Maybe I've watched countless amounts of
footage, and worked the desk at a gym for 20 years.
I probably know plenty, but when you have a guy who
hasn't gone through what you're going through it's
tough. His credibility is a little in question, and
more importantly, he's never felt what you're going
He doesn't have to be world class. He just needs to
have some ring experience. Would you rather be
trained by George Foreman or Larry Merchant? They've
both been around the game for just as long. They both
have a lot of insight, and could probably give you
some good advice and help you avoid some mistakes.
But after you get your head handed to you George can
help you get through it. Larry can tell you walk it