‘Coaches, coach, if you aren’t coaching right, you shouldn’t coach’.
When you train in Singapore or anywhere else, one person who can make a huge impact on you is your coach. If you end up with the right coach, you can make huge improvements in a short period of time. Unfortunately, if you end up with a bad one, you may make little or no progress at all.
Personally, over the past 15 years, I’ve worked with coaches in Thailand, Superstar Champions of Lumpinee, Singapore and other coaches from other disciplines. They were a mix of the good, bad and lazy. In a nutshell, a good fighter may not be a good teacher, a good teacher may not be a good fighter. Some of these teachers were remarkable and some I fail to recall.
The Mean Machine
This type of coach makes you pant really hard. The heart beats like a bass of your stereo. Their main intention is to keep the intensity really high to match it to the intensity of a fight in the ring and/or to burn the fats away. This kind of cardio conditioning is good for those who want to be a lean, mean, fighting machine. I don’t recommend ‘The mean machine’ to novice and at amateur level.
The Retired Fighter
This type of coach just hung their gloves. Don’t get me wrong, they can be absolutely awesome fighters but they may not be good teachers as their career as a ‘coach’ just started. They may find it hard to explain to you what they want you to achieve. They may also be lousy pad-holders, holding pads at wrong angles that can cause you some pain in your limbs.
They say slow and steady wins the race. This type of coach won’t move on to other areas until you punch or kick correctly. You will see yourself repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again until its done to what is deem as ‘right’. They will slow you down to bring you to their preferred rhythm, they will encourage you to copy their movement and their pace. This type of coaching should be recommended to beginners and experts once in awhile to go back to basics however if you are looking for a heart-attack from hitting the bags/pads, you may be bored out of your wits.
‘Harder, 1 more, TWIST, TURN YOUR HIPS MORE’! These words come from coaches that are looking for shots with knockout power. Whatever you are throwing, it better be rock solid. This way of coaching helps to develop more power behind your shots and strengthen your technique. If one isn’t skillful and technical, having power behind your shots is the next best thing.
The Pre-Fight before a fight
Ever met a coach that hits you? I had. This type of coach is looking to make sure your guard is on point, they will try to mimic what will happen in a fight by throwing punches, kicks, knees, light elbows, pushing, shoving and throwing you around. They are putting you in a state of stress for your own good. Some may operate in a way that they have another coach on standby to do the rounds with you. 2 coaches sharing a 4 minute round with you, isn’t that a dream? Oh, it goes for 5 rounds! Teep more perhaps?
This type of coach shouldn’t be deemed as coach. ‘Coaches, coach, if you aren’t coaching right, you shouldn’t coach’. They aren’t motivated to teach. You don’t know whether you are doing right or wrong. Everything you do is met with the words ‘very good’ or ignored. If you find yourself under this coach get away as fast as possible.
I hope you come across coaches that doesn’t let you off when things are amiss, they tell you repeatedly about your mistakes and bad habits, they adjust their sessions and pad holding to cater to what needs to be worked on. From handling a beginner or someone advance, they tweak the pace, motivates you, change the momentum and combinations to make it smooth and effective. They hold pads suited to the discussion of what works the best for you during a fight, reminds you of your movements and combinations when you’re on the bag. During sparring, they are at the corner of the ring, keeping their eyes on you and the fight plan. Also making sure no one is out to hurt you. Last, leaving you with tips to remember that will go a long way with you. Some will even go further to work with you more after the session.
Here in Vanda, I aspire to be the awesome coach that I chance upon. What I have learnt during my journey, I share it at Vanda with the clients and my team of coaches. The team I have in Vanda fights often as well hence clients can benefit from receiving accurate information and not from ring rusty coaches. Now, I teach muay thai to all levels and groom fighters. I design strength & endurance programs, muay thai curriculums and look into their food & nutrition and fight strategy.
Stay positive! – Kelvin