What Makes a Good Boxing Trainer?

Behind every great boxer, there is a great boxing coach.

Finding the right boxing trainer for you is essential to improve your boxing ability and to continuously develop as a boxer.

In fact, trainers are so important, most professional fighters often have multiple coaches specialising in different expertise.

But what makes a good boxing trainer? If you are just starting out boxing, or if you are 25 fights down the road, there are certain qualities to be aware of in great boxing coaches.

Before we continue, it’s important to understand there is not one type of great boxing trainer. Your friend’s boxing coach might be amazing for them, however, it doesn’t mean he’s your perfect fit. Different factors such as coaching styles and personality matter in this decision.

Getting a boxing coach is very similar to hiring an employee, whatever level of boxing you are at, it’s important to assess their resume and determine whether a person has the necessary experience, level of skill and character to act as your mentor.

Keep an eye out for motivating quotes from famous boxing coaches throughout:

“Fear is the greatest obstacle to learning. But fear is your best friend. Fear is like fire. If you learn to control it, you let it work for you. If you don’t learn to control it, it will destroy you and everything around you.”

– Cus D’Amato

What is the role of a boxing coach?

Ultimately, boxing coaches are responsible for teaching you the sport of boxing safely and to help you achieve your goal, whatever that may be. People have different motivations for hiring a boxing coach:

  • To get physically fit
  • To practice a sport you love (boxing enthusiasts)
  • To train for amateur bouts
  • To train for the professional boxing game

No matter what your goal is, there will be a boxing trainer out there for you. And at the end of the day, your choice of boxing coach will depend on your personal preferences.

“Boxing is a science. You don’t just walk into a gym and start punching. Fighters are born with differences in physical ability, but you also see a big difference in their skills. That’s the trainer’s influence at work.”

– Eddie Futch

Qualities to look for in a Boxing Trainer

Boxing is mentally and physically a demanding sport which requires an athletic attitude and focus. We will go through some important qualities great boxing trainers possess and why:

  • Experienced
  • Organised and Prepared
  • Analytic
  • A Motivator
  • Clear Communicator
  • An Optimist
  • Has Character

A Boxing Coach with Experience

This seems like a given, however, ‘Boxing Experience’ comes in a variety of different forms. There are conflicting opinions about whether or not your boxing coach needs to be a seasoned fighter in order to teach.

However, if you are hiring a boxing trainer for fighting in the ring, then they should know what it feels like to be in that position.

You should ask about the coaches history or watch the other fighters he teaches to understand if his experience matches what you need from them.

For example, if you need discipline, then you would seek a coach with experience in getting boxers disciplined.

A Coach who is Organised and Prepared

It’s vital to remember that your boxing trainer is responsible for how well you perform in the ring.

A coach that fails to prepare is a coach who is preparing to fail, which means you do too. Having a coach who plans and thinks about their lessons shows they care about your development and are keen to see your progress.

If you feel the lessons are loosely structured and have no real direction week-to-week then question your coach, or look for someone who will.

An Analytic Boxing Coach

Attention to detail is key.

A great boxing coach will have a killer eye for your star talents and your biggest weakness and use them to mould you into a great fighter.

An analytic boxing coach will be a boxing strategist and analyse opponents styles, strengths and weakness to help you develop techniques and leverage your own strength to use in the ring.

“Training fighters is like trying to catch a fish. It’s technique, not strength.”

– Angelo Dundee

A Coach who Motivates You

Motivation can be mistaken for a coach screaming at you until they are blue in the face and being called a weak-ass pussy if you can’t complete the next 10 pull-ups.

A motivator does not mean an energy-drainer.

A coach who understands how to motivate will tell make you turn up 10 minutes early for your session, make you challenge yourself so you leave the gym with a smile on your face.

A bad coach will leave you feeling drained and drive you to excuses.

A Boxing Coach who Communicates Clearly

Communication is a highly overlooked quality that people should look for in a great boxing trainer. A coach who can effectively communicate their knowledge to you in a way you understand, digest and act upon, is important.

A coach with good communication will listen, watch and respond to how you learn and adapt their teaching to get the most out of you.

A Coach with Optimism

Similar to having a coach full of motivation is a boxing coach who has the attitude and outlook of an optimist. The demands of boxing allow people to get inside their heads, however, a good boxing trainer will have positive energy, build/focus on your success and will always be looking forward.

Being success oriented and not failure oriented means your trainer can be innovative and creative in how you train which is another great quality of a boxing trainer.

“It’s a sport that has helped many children on their way to the darkness and put them on track and allowed me to make them better men. All my life I have sought out young people from a life of drugs, crime, and gangs. This is very beautiful.”

– Nacho Beristain

A Boxing Coach with Character

A huge aspect to finding the right boxing coach for you is if you get on as people. Finding a boxing trainer is a personal decision and training with someone you have chemistry with will be core to progressing your inner potential and boxing career.

Your boxing trainer will be the person to unlock your true potential, help you progress and teach you the joy of boxing. They will understand you, your goals and help you achieve them.

No legacy is so rich as honesty.

You need to trust your boxing coach.

You need a bond.

A great boxing coach should always tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if that truth is hard to swallow. Honesty from your trainer shows that he is looking out and protecting your best interests.

Talk about the money.

Especially between professional fighters and trainers.

Agreement on the money is critical.

When success comes, if your own communication or your coaches’ isn’t clear, the money can destroy your bond, friendships and team dynamic. So be sure to have that conversation and be on same page.

Neither should be greedy.

Remember the boxer is taking all the risks in professional fighting and the trainer has invested his their life into fulfilling the boxers dream.

So, what makes a good boxing coach?

A boxing trainer that shows you boxing is about being the best you can be.

“He fights with his heart and emotion. People say you should change him and settle him down. But this is what makes him exciting and you can’t take it away from him.”

– Freddie Roach