Recruiting Coaches

 

 

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are of the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of USA Boxing.

Lately I’ve been hearing more people (board members, administrators, head coaches) saying, “we need to figure out how to recruit more coaches. I’ve got plenty of kids in the gym, but not enough coaches to coach them. If they don’t get attention, they leave!”

This is a real problem. If we’re looking to grow our sport, and allow more people to reap the benefits of boxing, how are we going to do that, if we can’t handle the numbers we have now. What are we going to do when we have even more kids knocking our gym doors? I don’t have all the solutions, but I will start the conversation.

Recruiting

Just like everything else in athletic administration, this will be a hustle as well. What you should consider is, if it is worth it as a gym owner/manager, or head coach, to invest your time into recruitment with the possibility of it paying off in a couple of months. What would it be like to hustle now, and in the near future be able to focus on your competition team because you have created a responsible staff? I’m old school with marketing. I like business cards, and I like putting them everywhere. At the very least get some inexpensive two sided black and white cards. Start with 250-500 (about $20 from a local print shop or maybe less online), with your gym logo, social media, address and contact information on the back side. On the front put the direct message of what you’re looking for.

When you go out to eat, leave it on the table after you’re finished. After you go to a public restroom, leave it by the sink. Give them to your boxers and members, and tell them to leave them in the change room at the fitness gym they do weights at. We’re looking for people who are looking for purpose and have time to give, even if it’s only a few hours a week.


To get your juices flowing, here are a few other ideas (but don’t limit yourself to just these people and places) that you can leave cards, hang flyers and send letters to: veterans (VFW, American Legion), semi-retirement living homes, parents of boxers (past and present), former members, sports fans, other seasonal coaches.


What to do when you get them


Have a plan!


When you do have people that want to volunteer and support, have some entry level roles with simple duties that you can explain and they can learn quickly. Here are a few suggestions:


Water, headgear and gloves:

Introduce your new staff to the high paced, chaotic environment of a boxing gym with the easiest thing for them to do … give boxers water. Get them in the middle of the action, with low responsibility and a high success rate. After a couple of days, show them how to assist with headgear and gloves. Boxing fans love this stuff. Get them in the habit of showing up and being a contribution to the team.


Heavy Bag Drill Sergeant:

The heavy bag drill sergeant can be a very rewarding position for anyone that is confident, slightly aggressive, and can be loud and motivating. The rewards are immediate, as you know you’re doing a good job if the athletes are sweating more than they were when they arrived at the bag station, and they’re buckled over in the rest periods. As the head coach you can give the drill sergeant a hand full of drills to do, whether they are maximal effort for the entire round, or interval bursts. They can pick a different one each day, and challenge the athletes to push past their perceived limits. Motivation can sound like, “Go, go, go! Push, push, push!”, “How bad do you want it?!”, “Imagine it’s the gold medal match, last day of the tournament!”, “Show the judges just how bad you want it!”, or even “My grandmother punches harder than that! Put your shoulders into it!”. You get the idea. Now make it your own.


Fundamentals Support:

This is a great job for someone who has been around for a few weeks and the kids are starting to get to know and trust. They walk the floor reminding boxers, “hands up, head down. Keep the hard stuff in front”, “keep your left shoulder and hip at your opponent, and your back foot back”, “punches from the face. Straight there and back”, “stick and move, and keep circling”.


10 Quote Coach:

Make a small card to hand out to your volunteers and they can pick a quote to recite from. Keep it simple and make it easy to apply.

 

 

Conclusion


All you really need is a few volunteers to help out, and when you give them simple instructions (where they can see the immediate benefits of their involvement), you should have better staff retention. After all this and they’ve stuck around for a while, amp up the responsibilities and teach them how to be real coaches, where you mentor them to do focus mitts, skill/strategy analysis, and work corners.


If you have any other ideas about recruitment or mentoring, please comment below. We want to hear what’s worked for you!

 


Coach Chadrick Wigle

USA Boxing

Merchandise Manager