Question for Coach Mike:
“A lot of gyms have more than one coach and each may teach techniques differently. How should both coaches, and fighters, handle this? What should a fighter do when he receives conflicting information from one or more coaches? For example, in my last gym, one coach would teach the left hook by turning on the front foot. The Muay Thai coach didn’t like it because he said you’re setting yourself up for a kick to the back of the leg. Then of course there were different opinions on whether the fist should be “palm down” or “palm facing you”. And this was just on ONE punch! What are your thoughts and guidelines on this?”
“First of all I’m going to confine my answers and comments regarding having more than on boxing coach in the same gym because I have experienced this first hand and seeing myself as a head boxing coach I can speak on what I have seen and what I know to be true on this subject. First let me tell you what the experts say and think about this subject of having more than one boxing coach in the same gym and these experts are guys who have been in business and have operated gyms for a long time. Having more than one boxing coach in the gym is a bad idea and is not recommended by the guys who really know the business. A boxing coach coming from another program may have a very different approach to the sport than you do. This can lead to confusion in your boxers and may add a great deal of stress to you as the head coach and to others in the gym. By having only one boxing coach in the gym this way your boxers learn only one system-yours. I want my guys doing the things I want them to do and I don’t want other coaches, parents or fighters trying to correct my guys when I’m working with them.
They need to hear one voice and be getting just one message and avoid getting any mixed messages, the same thing applies when I’m cornering a guy who is fighting. you may have three different people in the corner but there is and should be only one guy talking to that fighter in that corner-me. I trained him and got him ready for this fight and I need to make sure he is doing what we worked on and is doing the things I want him to do. Even when he’s fighting and there are a lot of other voices coming from the crowd and often instructions coming from the opponents corner my guy needs to be dialed in on my voice from the corner while he’s out there. If you are going to have an assistant boxing coach working with you it should be someone who has the same philosophy or possibly a former boxer or fighter that came up in your system and know’s your style. Former fighters you have worked with and trained often make good assistant coaches and therefore your other guys are still getting the same messages and doing things the way you want done.
Amateur boxing coaches many times pick and choose an assistant coach who absolutely knows nothing about boxing and many times they will pick a parent or someone else from the community who wants to get involved with your boxing program. By doing this you don’t get someone coming from a different boxing program chiming in confusing your boxers and going against your system because they don’t know enough to cause you stress and grief. A lot of fighters go to different gyms to spar and train with other guys while trying to get themselves ready for a fight and I see this quite a bit with MMA fighters. I know MMA guys who jump around from gym to gym to gym and some of these guys live in Las Vegas where all the big MMA gyms are located. You can have different coaches teaching different disciplines in the same gym but there should be only one boxing coach in that gym. A question came up on throwing the left hook with the thumb down or the thumb rolled up on top of the fist. Throwing the left hook with the thumb down is thrown usually on the inside which I call a short left hook thrown from the elbow in. The farther you get from your opponent you have to throw the left hook with the thumb rolled up otherwise if you try to throw a long left hook with your thumb down it just turns into a jab.
A lot of people think the left hook has to be thrown short, inside and close to your opponent but that’s not true. There is such a thing as a long left hook as long as you still throw the punch with your chin behind your shoulder. Throwing the short left hook inside with the thumb down is an old school technique because back in the day they threw it this way and if they missed you with the hook they tried to split you open with the elbow. I only know of one old school great boxing trainer and coach that taught all of his fighters to throw the long left hook and that was the late great Emanuel Steward of the Famous Kronk Gym in Detroit.”