I’ve recently stressed the importance of training at a real boxing gym. As I have stated before, it is not possible to teach yourself how to box at a high level. If you are serious about fighting, you need to find yourself a good gym and a good trainer. Keep in mind however that once you’ve found a gym, many trainers will not give you much early attention. Most beginning boxers quit within the first few weeks. Therefore, don’t expect an experienced boxing trainer to cater to your every need on your first day. As a beginner, you must prove that you are serious and willing to work.
Boxing Is Tougher Than It Looks
Everyone wants to become a fighter until they realize how difficult it is to be a fighter. The average person has no idea how challenging it is to box three minute rounds at a brisk pace. Even simply hitting the bag for a few rounds will humble most fitness enthusiasts. The thought of being punched by an opponent while struggling with that fatigue can be intimidating. It always looks easier when you are on the outside looking in. Once you are the one struggling with fatigue, you develop a whole new sense of respect for the sport and its athletes.
Every experienced trainer knows these seemingly obvious facts. They know that boxing is tough and that it is not for everyone. Most people who walk through their gym doors will not last long. Unfortunately, many beginners have no idea what they are getting into. Most people in today’s world don’t have boxing experience, so it’s not as if the beginner can ask his friend or neighbor what to expect. The beginner is entering an unknown world that is entirely different from what he encounters in everyday life.
The Trainer’s Perspective
Any trainer who has been around for a long time has seen plenty of beginners quit within the first few weeks. Some quit after their first sparring session and others quit after a few hard workouts on the mitts or bag. Whatever the beginner thought he was getting into is entirely different from reality.
The trainer knows these simple truths when you first enter the gym, and already has dedicated fighters that he is committed to as a coach. As a result, you cannot fault him for questioning just how serious you are about the sport. Contrary to what some believe, many boxing coaches volunteer much of their time. In other words, it is quite possible that the trainer is not getting paid by the hour. He may have had a long day at work before heading to the boxing gym to volunteer his time. He is there to help, but will naturally be inclined to help those who have proven their dedication the sport.
“Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.” – Mark Twain
No matter what the beginner says about how dedicated he or she is, the trainer has heard it before. Someone else has come in with the same lines, only to quit after the first few weeks. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most trainers won’t pay much attention to the words that come out of your mouth. Boxing is an action sport. You can’t talk yourself through a round. The trainer only cares about what you will do, not what you say you will do.
The best way for a beginning boxer to attract the attention of a trainer is by working so hard that everyone takes notice. Don’t waste time talking about what you are going to do. Just show up and quietly put in your work.
If a trainer or fighter gives you a suggestion, be grateful for the advice and practice it regularly. Continue to practice, practice, and practice some more. Make your face known as the new guy who works harder than everyone. Be the beginner who puts in extra sets and extra rounds. Be the beginner who respectfully asks for advice without being a nuisance. Don’t be the new guy who half-asses it on the bag and then expects everyone to come running. Don’t be the beginner who questions every bit of advice that he is given. Once again, quietly put in your work and let your actions speak for themselves.
In addition, always remember that the gym was there before you. It will continue to operate with or without you. As I’ve said before, most boxing gyms operate like large families. You can’t barge your way into a new family and force everyone to accept you. You need to slowly earn the family’s trust and respect. The best way to do so is by constantly putting in work.
If you bust your ass day in and day out, the fighters and trainers will eventually take notice. Even when you think that no one is watching, there is a good chance that someone is paying attention. If you continue to put forth that type of effort, you will quickly pass through the early initiation phase that is common at most serious boxing gyms. Before long, you will be the fighter who is telling another beginner to keep working so that he too can be noticed.