After your competitive career is over, you still have a future in the sport. Tony Jeffries explains what you need to know when it comes to teaching boxing
Ten years ago, a boxer who was hanging up the gloves didn’t have much to fall back onto, but now with boxing for fitness being one of the biggest workout trends in the world, if they are smart they can earn a good living by teaching boxing to others as they have more boxing experience than 99% of personal trainers.
I have been doing it successfully for seven years now and even though I was a very successful boxer, I would say I’m even more successful at this. However, it’s something I have had to work on; it’s not as straightforward as you may think.
Here are some tips for boxers teaching boxing fitness.
Realize you’re teaching boxing for fitness reasons and not for a fight – good form is important but not crucial. If you work a full session on perfecting the jab, it’s going to be pretty boring, and if your client gets bored, the workout becomes a chore, and if it becomes a chore, they won’t last long.
Have fun and be positive with clients; don’t be too serious like your coach may have been with you. When teaching beginners how to box, it WILL feel awkward, so tell them they are about to feel awkward.
When I say ‘have fun’, this doesn’t mean tell them your little sister can punch harder than them, but do give them new combos and have them rolling punches – be creative with your workout and let your personality show.
Promote yourself as a ‘former competitive boxer’ and if you have won anything in your sports career, use that, ie ‘former national champion boxer’. This is what sets you apart from other trainers.
Do plenty of pad work. Clients love – and I mean love – hitting the pads, so learn how to hold them correctly. You should know what it feels like – too much resistance could hurt them, but too little and they can jar their elbow.
Realise that just because you were a boxer, and it doesn’t matter what level you achieved, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be a good boxing fitness trainer. This takes time.
There are some boxing fitness trainers out there, like Box ’N Burn’s Stephen Cain who was a former footballer. He had never had a pair of gloves in his life when he started with us, but now I would say he is a better boxing fitness trainer than 95% of boxers who come into this industry.
This is because he practices, studies and really understands the fundamentals now. I’ve seen some former high-level boxers try to teach boxing to people and they have been terrible.
Don’t stop learning! It wasn’t until I started to teach boxing that I understood the true fundamentals of the sport. We can never stop learning, and that includes technique, strength and conditioning, speed and agility and resistance training to name just a few.
On top of that, learn about social media and marketing and how to sell. You can be the best trainer in the world but without social media and marketing and a way to sell, you’re not going to be making much or get any clients.
Always wrap your clients hands and make sure you wrap correctly. If they get injured, they can’t train and probably won’t want to train with you again. On top of this, they feel like a badass boxer as soon as you wrap.
Leave your ego at the door. As boxers, we all have egos. You will see other trainers teaching clients that may not be doing it correct. Rather than laugh, criticise and think to yourself how you would be able to give that client a better workout, you should approach them when they’re not with the client and talk with them to help them.
You should just be a good person too. You never know how they could help you down the line with something like how to sell personal training, or how to perfect some TRX work. In this industry, build as many great relationships with people as you can as it really does go a long way.
Be honest. If a client tells you they’ve had surgery on their back and need to strengthen it up, they’ll ask if you know how. They could also say they want to build muscle to get bigger and ask how they could do this. If you don’t know, tell them the truth and pass them on to a trainer who can help them properly. The trainer will appreciate that, and chances are they will do the same if they ever have a client that wants to learn boxing.
Invest in your self, buy nice equipment, mitts, gloves for your clients that smell nice, go and do certification courses, seminars, and conferences Now I’m going to do a shameless plug! Take the Box ’N Burn Certification course. This is where you learn how to teach boxing, We have taught over 20,000 people how to box here in LA over the last five years, and have taught over 1,000 trainers how to teach boxing, including lots of former boxers, current fighters, and professional boxing trainers. We give our methods and provide secrets on how to teach someone how to box if they have never boxed before