Reality V Misconception What Really Goes on Get Lowest Level of Coaching Certification report + commentary Esteban Erik Stipnieks All Rights Reserved


True or false…..all amateur boxing coaches are required to go through a criminal background check which they pay for every 2 years…..

True or false 2 volunteer officials were dismissed by staba this past year

True or false amateur boxing coaches are encouraged to double DPS data bases of sex offenders if they are suspicious of a person in or around the gym

True or false a RSCH means boxers nor not even permitted to hit heavy bags

The surprising answer to all those questions is true…..I witnessed Art G Garcia handle a Level 1 Coaching Clinic at San Fernando Gym. What you think you know about amateur boxing v what is taught is stunning. I at one 1 time had a level 1 coaching credential a level 1 coaching credential is the lowest level of certification. I remember it given to me under Cesar Cano… impressive as that was the program I witnessed was more impressive. I will divide this up into technique, safety, and sportsmanship this is a peak into what is taught.  Arthur G Garcia who held the clinic is a retired law enforcement official who went through a week long certification process to teach the clinic at Colorado Springs

Looking back on the Coaching methods of those coaches that made me an athlete (before boxing) the methods of Coach Hansen and Coach Scott well are now what is actively encouraged. The power point slides went by the focus on coaching by demonstration, encouragement, positive feedback. Model provide positive feedback in short “Involve me I understand.”  An emphasis was placed on athlete ownership of their career. 

What also came in this section is what I call the Mike Tyson lessons learned. Coaches were told over and over again do not give talented boxers an excuse to misbehave hold them to standards of behavior in gym that everybody else is subjected to. Art emphasized that if you fail a talented boxer in this regard you did them an injustice.

The longest section of the certification process was on safety and liability. This is probably were misconceptions of amateur boxing can be shattered the quickest. The obvious topics were head injuries/concussions, dehydration, staph, and medical histories of fighters.

All coaches are required to understand what a concussion looks like and the symptoms of it….coming in April with a new format this emphasis on concussions while substantial today is going to be updated enhanced discussed in greater depth. What was taught to basic lowest level of coaching….if applied would have eliminated one dark instance at the National PAL’s. It is a relatively safe editorial comment that…..the fury unleashed by coaches of the sport was a kin to pilots knowing rules were violated in larger crash. An RSC(H) (Referee stops contest head) in a tournament by regs means a boxer can not even hit a heavy bag till the suspension is served the boxer medically cleared. A boxer RSC (H) is not permitted in the boxing gym period. Furthermore coach is required to give the boxer’s parent or spouse the information and notification PERSONALLY after the event. A great emphasis was put on the five second rule better to stop five seconds before than 1 second too late! This rule was repeated oft during the class section.

Hand in hand with the concussion issue was the long discussion and emphasis on dehydration. USA boxing pointed out even 2% loss of body water…..can diminish performance of boxer. Than the recovery time from dehydration (longer than you think) was emphasized. This was circled back into sparring and boxing. More stringent rules have been put in place about weight loss at weigh in. Use of sweat suits is now being openly discouraged or if they must be used their use must be very limited. Walking weight natural walking weight was emphasized time and time again as the measurement of fighting weight. Art went on to describe a rather tragic event that illustrated the risks crystal clear. 

MRSA is real issue now. The ability of MRSA to spread and to shut down gyms was highlighted. Coaches were warned about its spread and the fact equipment must be cleaned and disinfected. Health departments have shut down gyms and will do so if an outbreak occurs.

Probably the most counter intuitive was the fact that well coaches are not believe parents when parents paint too rosy of medical history regarding concussions or other injuries. Coaches while not required were strongly encouraged to get parents to fill out a medical history before registering the kid with a gym. Boxing is a contact sport it may seem harsh a distrust of a coach to a parent. If a gym requires a medical history to be filled out by a parent and signed the boxer benefits because the truth of their medical history becomes an instrument of the boxers protection. Mutual distrust means two people looking over the same issue acting to prevent something neither wants a boxer with a severe head injury.

While not required many things were encouraged… suggestion given was EMTs nurses being given right to work out at gym without paying gym fees. A proactive emergency action plan for each gym was suggested as well. Additional certifications of CPR and First aid while not required for lowest level (non national level coaches) was encouraged.

Liability and safety also goes far deeper. Coaches were informed of their role in the product liability chain. If equipment breaks in the gym….because of ….failure to maintain it….coach is liable. The fact that if a surrogate purchased the equipment….coach is liable for failure of the equipment.

The final emphasis was placed any failure to follow USA boxing rules results in loss of liability coverage period end of story. The emphasis was USA boxing rules were to be followed to the period punctuation any failure to do so puts the coach in liability. Relevant rules were naturally mentioned.

The last bit of the coaching clinic was on sportsmanship and relationship with officials….coach and officials come into conflict. Staba with its by laws has a coaches committee one of the few in the nation. Naturally within staba there are multiple coaches and officials who wear both hats. The emphasis of the discussion is that ref has control of the fight and coaches are to their fight respect the decision and deal with through appropriate channels after the heat of the moment and in a preventive time before the heat of conflict begins next competition. Coaches were also encouraged to get the officials handbook on the rules.

When it is all said and done the clinic emphasized on a coaches the responsibility they were taking and the amount of legal liability they were opening themselves to if they fail to do the job properly. The role of the coach in a young person’s live and potential in changing forever in a positive manner was touched upon. This was emphasized as the calling of the coach. Often time boxing coaches are called to be fathers many boys do not have. With that included is the duty that even if the boxer has talent they must be expected to follow the rules everybody else does. In terms of safety the seriousness of the sport. Long gone are the days of smelling salts and reckless attitudes things present are the days when in doubt stop check it out any failure to do so could cost you dearly. What I found amazing despite the stern blunt attitude of the session their were people willing to pay the high cost of registration willing to take on the responsibility and willing to do what is required to be a USA Boxing Coach.  I am not a certified coach nor am I member of staba.  I did find the whole process informative and am greatful allowed me to sit in on so I can tell you the story on how even the lowest level of coaching certification is obtained.  After I left Coaches were required to pass a test with 75% or better on all the material I outlined loosely. 



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The Coaching Clinic was held as part registration 2012