Realistic Character Occupations: My Experience as a Boxing Coach

To win readers over we need to write characters so authentic they feel like real people. How do we do this? By brainstorming a character’s backstory, personality, needs, desires, and their day-to-day world. Lucky for us, one aspect of their daily life is a goldmine of characterization: the type of work they do.  

Think about it: a job can reveal personality, skills, beliefs, fears, desires, and more, which is why Becca Puglisi and I created The Occupation Thesaurus, a writing guide that profiles 124 possible careers and the story-worthy information that goes with each. Because they couldn’t conceivably cover all possible occupations, I’m helping Angela & Becca supplement their project and sharing my experience as a BOXING COACH. Maybe this career will be a perfect fit for one of your characters.

You can find the full list of Contributed Occupation Profiles and check out The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers at Writers Helping Writers.

OCCUPATION: Boxing Coach

OVERVIEW
Being a boxing coach entails training boxers, either amateur, professional, or for fitness. It requires a knowledge of anatomy, the ability to inspire and encourage, an eye for safety, and physical fitness.  At some gyms, there is a cleaning portion, most often cleaning equipment: bags, gloves, and hand pads. Sometimes, also bathrooms, common areas, and floors.

NECESSARY TRAINING
Most training is done on the job, but there are certifications and conditions that are required or encouraged for Boxing Canada (other countries may vary):

Standard First Aid/CPR
Boxing Coaching Level 1
NCCP courses (nutrition, planning a practice, and making ethical decisions)
An evaluation through Boxing Canada
Group Fitness Instructor Certification
Coaching Certification,
Kinesiology Degree
(A Criminal Record Check is necessary to take many of the certifications)

USEFUL SKILLS, TALENTS, OR ABILITIES
AGILITY, BALANCE, BASIC FIRST AID, CONFIDENT, CRITICAL THINKING, CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK, DEXTERITY, DISCIPLINE, ENCOURAGING OTHERS, EMOTIONAL CONTROL, FLEXIBILITY, GAINING THE TRUST OF OTHERS, HAND-EYE COORDINATION, KNOWLEDGE OF ANATOMY, KNOWLEDGE OF BOXING, KNOWLEDGE OF NUTRITION, LEADERSHIP, MAKING FRIENDS, MAKING PEOPLE LAUGH, MANAGING A GROUP, MOTIVATING, MULTITASKING, NETWORKING, ORGANIZATION, OUT-OF-THE-BOX THINKING, PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS, PHYSICAL FITNESS, PROBLEM SOLVING, PUBLIC SPEAKING, QUICK-THINKING, READING PEOPLE, SPATIAL AWARENESS, STAMINA, STRATEGIC THINKING, STRENGTH, STRONG BREATH CONTROL, SUPPORTIVE, SWIFT-FOOTEDNESS, TEACHING, THROWING ONE’S VOICE, VISION

SOURCES OF FRICTION
Clients wanting to show you how hard they can hit
People learning you coach boxing wanting to fight you in a public setting
People breathing/spitting in your face when you’re holding handpads
Boxers who want to hit handpads all the time instead of a bag
Southpaws
People pointing out your flaws
Dealing with complaints or injuries
People giving up on themselves
Boxers challenging your knowledge

WRITERS SHOULD KNOW…
It’s more important to be fast, than strong, to be a boxing coach. You must be physically fit to keep up with the clients and have strong arms and core muscles in particular to catch punches. Stiff elbows, shoulders, and neck, torn ligaments or muscles, hyperextension of joints, and bruises from improper punches are all common injuries.

Angela & Becca’s note: a big thank you to Street Team member Kelly Malacko for generously sharing their experience in this job role!

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