Pardon me while I scream (and curse)

11 Jan

The first time I attended an IWUF regulation sanshou event, I was shocked to learn that the rules specifically prevented coaches from instructing their fighters during the round. In pretty much every other combat sports, you hear the coach instructing the fighter during the round. It is actually an important part of a fighter’s development so I am not sure where this weird rule originated? It didn’t matter, all the coaches learned how to circumvent it.

I confess, I not only coach, I scream! I often curse. I am a firm believer that the coach is there to push the athlete. Not to win necessarily, but to do their best. Legendary wrestling coach Dan Gable’s book “Coaching Wrestling Successfully” (perhaps the world’s biggest understatement!) contains the following;

When an athlete enters my program, we discuss his ideal objective: receiving straight A’s and going undefeated in wrestling. Then we discuss the opposite extreme, flunking out and never winning. After discussing both scenarios, I show the athlete the graph (see page 10 of the book – you SHOULD own it). This graph is used to explain the level they need to achieve in comparison to their opposition. I expect the athletes in my program to be at the top of the graph.

Where Dan Gable is concerned, I have to resist the temptation to quote the rest of the book, because pretty much every word is a gem of wisdom. However, the concept should be clear; the expectation is EXCELLENCE.

I have said it before, I have actually SCREAMED at athletes who actually just WON because I felt they didn’t put in their best performance. I have congratulated and celebrated with athletes who just lost because they had put in their best performance (and it just wasn’t their “day”, the opponent was just better and that is the one thing you CAN’T do anything about).

In kickboxing, San Da, Muay Thai, even MMA, most guys are amateurs. They are never going to be professionals. The only reason they are doing this is to be better martial artists, and also BETTER PEOPLE. If you aren’t pushing to get your best out, to improve with every match, what is the point?

And my job, as their coach, is to remind them of this and motivate them in any way I can, including cursing at them.

I am not cursing or screaming because I don’t care. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t even be there, nor would they be in that ring/cage/mat. I take time off not only from my school but my family to spend time with them, take them to events, corner them. So, again, my job, as their coach, is to remind them of this and motivate them in any way I can, including cursing at them.


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