The future of our sport depends on our ability to recruit boxers into our local gyms who are willing to train and compete in the toughest of all sports. Once recruited, boxers must be retained in the sport in order to achieve success on the local, regional and national levels. Coaches across the U.S. are responsible for the recruitment and retention, as well as the training, of these boxers.
Boxers who wish to compete on the US National team must learn international tactics and strategies to make them successful on the international level. Those elements are honed in international competition, and developed through a commitment to international success. Boxers competing on the international level only represent a small percentage of all the boxers across the nation, however their ability to perform successfully on the World stage is paramount to our continued success as an Olympic sport. And again, it all begins with recruiting boxers into our local gyms.
Below are some ideas for places coaches can recruit female boxers; keys to retention of boxers; and various materials that might be helpful for efforts on the local level.
Some boxers come to the sport for fun, for fitness, out of curiosity, because it's something crazy to try for awhile, or because they want to compete as amateur or professional boxers. Successful Olympic-style boxers are diverse in their reasons for beginning the sport. If they have a positive first experience in the gym, boxers are more likely to return for continued lessons.
Want more ideas? Ask coaches and boxers, already in your gym, for their opinion. Your best recruitment options will depend on your area of the country, your neighborhood, and trends in your area.
The easiest recruiting method is to simply add images of female boxers to those materials you already have (website, videos, flyers, other promotional materials). This will convey your appreciation for their contribution, and that you value what girls and women bring to the gym.
One benefit of recruiting female boxers is that when you intentionally recruit girls and women to your gym, boys and men will also respond (while the opposite is rarely true). A marketing effort aimed at girls and women will grow a gym in many ways, thus making the effort doubly worthwhile.
Retention of Female Boxers:
Female boxers leave competitive amateur boxing for a number of reasons. Some boxers grow too old to participate, others lose interest because they don't get competitive opportunities. Some female boxers feel unwanted or mistreated at gyms, and others simply move on to conquer new challenges. The best retention methods for competitive-minded boxers, is to consider some of their competitive desires:
Aside from your own ideas, and the ideas of other coaches, parents, boxers, and volunteers in your gym, here are a few materials that might be of assistance in the recruitment of female boxers in your area: