Firstly, a boxing trainer or coach should be certified by the recognised certifying organisation in your country, and make sure that the trainer also has liability insurance. Having said all that - One of the best boxing trainers i ever had wouldn't know a 'Coaching Certificate' if it jumped up and bit him on the arse, he didn't have insurance and knew very little about nutritional facts, or the business side of the sport either. But he sure knew what he was talking about when it came to teaching boxing skills and could make you feel like a world beater, so that was good enough for me. He was an exception to the rule though - RIP auld Jimmy.
One of the most important things required to be a good trainer is the ability to communicate well. Sure they have to know their facts and impart techniques well, but that doesn't mean anything if you can't understand what the hell they are talking about. You have to like your trainer and hold them in respect. When the trainer tells you to do something, you don't even hesitate or question it as you trust him completely. A good trainer will know how to motivate you and in boxing there will be times you are pushed up to and often beyond your physical and mental limits by your coach.
So, firstly check out your local boxing club as watching their trainers and boxers in action can tell you a lot about the place. Take a look around the club - Do the boxers look a bit sloppy or are you quite impressed? What references do the trainers have? Any local champs or pro fighters based in that boxing club?
Many modern sports or fitness clubs (as opposed to strictly boxing clubs) have what they call 'multi skilled trainers' on their staff, but they are not famous for boxing training. Aye some of those sports clubs do offer boxing classes, but most of those are basically geared up more for fitness and workout purposes. Remember too that if you just want to use 'Boxing Style Training For Fitness', a boxing trainer who works with dedicated boxers in the gym, probably won't give you the same attention as they would give to a dedicated fighter, so that's something to bear in mind.
Once you begin - Your early training drills and workouts at the gym are going to give you an even better idea about how good your trainer is. For instance, if he is throwing you out to spar almost immediately, then you are going to want to consider finding yourself a different trainer. NO quality trainer is going to risk you getting hurt when they don't even know your capabilities yet. So, make sure that you have a boxing trainer who wants to take the time to figure out what type of fighter you are first, and eventually, maybe several weeks or even months later, will get you to begin some gentle sparring with other boxers of a similar ability and weight class to you.
The first thing that a boxing trainer is probably going to want to do with you, is give you an all round workout test to see where your fitness is at aerobically, anaerobically, but also mentally. To do this, they can apply a whole variety of routines that will be different from one boxing trainer to another. The main thing they are going to have you do that is pretty consistent, is get you to take a few punches at them while they wear the practice mitts. By doing this, they get an up close look at how you punch, what is wrong with the way you punch, your movement, stance, style, skill level, power, etc. Then they will quickly come up with tips, training routines, drills and strategies that begin to correct and improve your boxing technique.
They will also likely have you run a mile as fast as you can, just to see where your aerobic fitness level is at. The trainer won't expect you to come close to breaking any world records, but their trained fighters will be expected to run a mile in about 6 or 7 minutes. It doesn't matter if you take 6 minutes or even 26 minutes to run the mile for the first time. He just wants to see how aerobically fit you are, and if you are slow he will soon devise training routines that will quickly improve your times. Next, you can generally expect the trainer to test out your anaerobic fitness. To do this, the trainer is probably going to have you go several rounds with a punching dummy bag. If that sounds easy, just give it a try sometime. It's a lot more difficult and physically demanding than it sounds. Unless you are pretty fit to begin with, you will probably struggle to manage going even one round while constantly moving and throwing punches at a dummy or punch bag, and that is the easy part as those things don't hit you back.
If you have never worked so hard in your life. feel fitter than you've ever felt before and learned something new at almost every training session, then you have probably found yourself a pretty decent trainer.
Bad habits can be your downfall as a fighter, a good trainer picks up on these wee things and corrects them for you. Boxing trainers are all very individual and tend to disagree with each other about almost every training technique there is. Remember that a good boxing coach can often be the difference between winning and losing. While you are the one giving and taking the punches in the ring, the trainer is there in the corner throwing every single punch along with his fighter. Aye it is the boxers responsibility to go out there and get the job done, but he would find it a lot harder to do that without his trainers constant advice and guidance.
A boxing trainer can have other roles than just coaching, such as mentoring, motivating, friend and disciplinarian. All these attributes are vital in ensuring the trainer gets the best out of his boxer. A trainer must fill their fighters with confidence, preparing you mentally for whatever lies ahead and removing any doubts that may be in your mind before each bout. The trainer is the person that ultimately knows his boxer best, he will know when your fitness is at its optimum level and when you're at your peak.
A boxing trainer has to be able to keep their fighter going, regardless of how worn down and tired he is feeling. On the other hand, he must also know when their boxer has 'had enough' physically and when the fighter has reached their limit mentally. That can be quite a difficult juggling act at times, but a good coach can manage that. It's also natural, especially if you have a competitive or aggressive nature, to assume that after a few months of dedicated hard work in the gym, you will feel that you now have the ability to take on the world - Basically you don't, so a good trainer will help keep a check on that by bringing you back down to earth and putting you in your place again when required. Usually by getting you to spar with a much more experienced boxer who will quickly prove to you that you still have much to learn.
There is no reason that you have to choose or stick with a particular boxing trainer or gym either. You are not married to them and it's basically a business transaction. Sure a certain loyalty builds up over time which goes both ways, but remember that you have to train to win. If that isn't happening, maybe it's time for a change. The costs for using a gym and trainer can vary greatly, but price is not always the best indicator of how talented a trainer is, so it shouldn't weigh too heavily on your list of reasons to hire someone. Obviously you have to be able to afford the person you are hiring and trainers rates do vary, so shop around and try to find an experienced boxing coach who is doing it because he loves the sport and not only for the money. If he agrees to take you on as a pupil, you might just have struck gold.
What A Boxing Trainer Does
The best boxing trainers design and implement intense physical training routines, practice drills and diet plans, to make sure that their boxer's are in peak physical condition. In addition, many trainers act as managers and promoters, which involves acquiring the appropriate training gear, setting up bouts, plus managing finances and schedules.
Boxing coaches usually design specific training programmes for their fighters, which will include long distance running, weight training, bag work and sparring in the ring. It is also common for a boxing trainer to study nutritional information so they can help you to implement healthy diet plans. Coaches can often assume managerial duties too, so they can be responsible for obtaining insurance and creating written contracts between themselves, their fighters, and third parties. They book time at local boxing gyms and obtain quality training equipment for their boxers. A trainer will organise bouts for his fighters, carefully considering the ability levels of the boxer and the opponent to ensure a safe, fair fight.
Things will vary from country to country, but to become certified by their local boxing organisation, they usually have to submit an application demonstrating their knowledge of boxing rules, equipment, and training techniques to examiners. By becoming certified, a boxing trainer gains credibility and becomes a more attractive prospect to a boxer looking for a good trainer.
There are various levels of certification that a boxing trainer may achieve. Lower level certification would qualify a trainer to work at a local gym. That grade of boxing trainer typically works with beginning amateur boxers, or people who just wish to improve their physical fitness through boxing classes. Further certification levels require a boxing trainer to gain extensive practical experience and demonstrate a strong understanding of boxing theory. Top level certified boxing trainers will be qualified to work with Olympic level amateur, and full time professional fighters.
Not every person is in the gym to be a competitive boxer, and many people are just there for a fantastic fitness workout or to get rid of a little stress. So sparring isn't something that they will become involved with.
A decent boxing trainer will not try to correct every little mistake that occurs during sparring by continually interrupting the session. Unless you are being a danger to yourself or your sparring partner, he will usually let the session continue and point out where you are going wrong in between rounds, or after the sparring session ends.
Another serious issue though is sparring safety. I've witnessed far too many injuries occur during unsafe sparring in the gym.
Sparring is not a competitive fight, it is just part of the learning and coaching process for the two boxers involved. Aye you'll get hit and often hurt, so the occasional black eye, burst lip and bloodied nose are going to happen at times, but some poor boxing trainers allow or even encourage something close to 'Full Fights' to break out. Some gyms and trainers also allow fighters to wear small 14 ounce boxing gloves during sparring too, which are gloves that should only be used for 'Bag Work'.
A good boxing trainer will only allow sparring to be conducted in the gym in a friendly and non-competitive atmosphere, with large well padded 16 or 18 ounce boxing gloves. If a gym or trainer allows the fighters to use gloves that are under 16 ounces, and/or allows the sparring bouts to be 'fighting competitions', my advice to you would be to start looking around elsewhere for a better boxing gym and a decent trainer.
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