IN the last blog we covered the benefits of boxing including health and fitness, social benefits and skill acquisition. Keeping up momentum and building on the previous blog I want to cover today how to find a boxing gym.
I’m going to focus specifically on the amateur route as I think it’s the most practical way to get experience in boxing with the right structure around you for success. It is possible to take a white collar/unlicensed route however the structure is not as clear so I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending that.
Finding a gym that can help you develop is one of the first big hurdles of getting into boxing. Firstly, if you are in the UK, you should join a club which is affiliated to the official boxing body of your country in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland. At the end of this blog you can find the links to their websites.
The reason for this is that these clubs have to meet official guidelines, compete in official competitions and this will lay a clear route out for you starting as a complete novice right up to hopefully the Olympics at the end!
After finding a club near you, I would suggest having a look at the coaches’ backgrounds. Which other boxers have they developed and what level did they take those athletes to? A gym should really be a stable environment for people to train in with regular timetabled sessions to give a structure to the training.
It’s important to try a couple of places out first before deciding where you will commit to as different gyms will have very different team dynamics and approaches to the noble art.
Once you are happy the gym meets those requirements the next thing to look at is the team dynamic in the gym. Do you feel happy there? Is it a positive atmosphere? Can you see a place for yourself there? Things that are going to influence this are the other boxers there and how much time the coaches have to help you develop.
It’s worth keeping in mind your own dedication is going to impact this as the coaches are going to prioritise people who have competitions coming up and those who have put the time in. If you are persistent they should give you opportunities.
If you are a parent you might want to speak to some of the other parents there so you are comfortable leaving your child in the duty of care of the coaches. A club should obviously be up to date with health and safety, first aid, and have clear child safe guarding procedures. Within the club there should be different age brackets for children to work with people close to their age group.
Men and women between the ages of 18 to 40 are categorised as Elite Boxers, boys and girls between the ages of 17 to 18 as Youth Boxers and boys and girls between the ages of 15 to 16 as Junior Boxers.
It’s important to note boxing isn’t about aggression – it’s a sport based around discipline and control. This is a valuable message quality coaches will develop within the club.
After getting comfortable at your club you might decide competing is the next step. Your coach should help you make a decision on when you are ready but to spar or compete you will need to be aged at least 10. All competitive boxers must get “carded” which requires a doctor filling in a medical card to confirm you are fit and well to box. Again the coaches at the club should be able to arrange this.
Now that you know how to find a gym next time we will explain how to train effectively with skill specific training vs general conditioning. Stay tuned for more!
The most up-to-date list of official clubs in the UK you can find here: