By Dennis Dodge – Every once in a while, the question of boxing coaches passes across my vision, and I’m always surprised at the completely differing perspectives and the vitriol thrown over the simple question of ‘would you be trained by a coach that has never stepped in the ring?’.
It’s a question that is so loaded, I’m surprised it doesn’t go bang when it pops up, names are thrown around as to those that have risen to greatness as coaches, despite never lacing them up (Cus D’amato, Enzo Calzaghe) to name 2 as others decry anyone that hasn’t been in the ring as unworthy of holding a ‘real’ boxers gloves. As is often the case with the internet, it then descends into name calling, pettiness and of course the obligatory 8 million memes.
I’ve decided to make my point, as I’m a coach that has never boxed but never the less I like to think I do a different job, and the lads I do assist seem to pick it up quite well. My two children started boxing at a young age and eventually settled at Kieran Farrell’s gym in Heywood The kid’s session was particularly busy and I often found myself helping out the boss man as the sessions grew. Eventually, my two (being the little darlings they are) pulled me aside to tell me that basically I was doing everything wrong and to ‘get it right’. After discussions with Kier, it was decided he’d put me forward for the AIBA course. I was enthusiastic and wanted to make sure all the kids were learning right.
Fast forward to the present day, I completed the course (I learnt a hell of a lot and am much better for it) and now assist primarily with new intakes as I take them through the basics and am quite good at getting them listening if I do say so myself. For
For me, there’s immense pride in what I do and you get the full range of experience and emotions from the kids, as you have those that surpass all expectations, the one that tries their hardest to put 150 percent into every session and of course those that drop out for whatever reason. In all, I like to think I do a good job and so far I’ve had no complaints.
The decision of who you’ll have in your corner seems like a no brainer, and as mentioned I’m surprised at the passion it stirs up. As a boxer it really is down to you to choose your coach/cornerman, as ultimately your putting your faith in them to do what’s right by you. If you don’t believe the coach that hasn’t stepped foot in the ring isn’t the man for you, then (hopefully) he should shake your hand, wish you all the best and move on to the next person. The coach should not take this as disrespect, as do you really want to train someone that isn’t taking what you say with 100 percent commitment? It’s not a slight to say that you’d rather have an experienced coach, nor is it a slap in the face to those like me that give their time up. Each person (coach and boxer) is different and both have to have 100 percent commitment to each other, as you cannot play at this sport (my favourite saying to the kids).
The last time I saw this being discussed and got involved, I had the pleasure of speaking to a British pro over this as I felt quite bad that I ‘shouldn’t’ be coaching. He spelt it out perfectly when he said ‘you’re doing a good thing, it’s just my decision that I’d rather be coached by someone that’s been in the ring, it suits me more.’ And that stuck with me.
Knock the insults off and remember that we’re all entitled to an opinion and don’t belittle the guys and gals like me that donate their time, nor the guys and gals that want that little bit more experience in their corner.