Boxer Being Treated Between Rounds, cornermen, and coaches.
Hearing and understanding your corner during a fight can be more difficult than it sounds.
One of the most overlooked aspects of training to fight is training to listen to your corner. It’s your corner’s job to see the things that you don’t and to let you know about them. If your cornerman cannot be heard, he is really nothing more than a glorified water boy. So, listen up.
1. Speaking the Language
Shadowboxing with a purpose is key. This is a technique coaches use to not only to familiarize the fighter with their voice, but also their commands. Many competitors warm up for practice with a round of shadow boxing (throwing punches and kicks to the air using technique). To maximize this time, the coaches should give cues during the round such as “One, two, sprawl” or use whatever code they may have for specific moves, which may sound something like “Spartan it,” or “funky chicken!” Whatever terms the coach uses to get you to perform a certain technique is what you need to hear. This drill essentially causes you to react to the coach’s voice and perform those commands.
2. The Noise Factor
Jiu Jitsu and crowd noise.
Practicing with crowd noise creates a realistic setting for the sound of distraction.
The best way to get use to competing in front of a loud crowd is to do just that. Ideally, competing in a tournament of some sort such as jiu jitsu could grant this type of setting in a realistic way, without affecting any sort of record. For boxers, and exhibition round in front of a crowd may be effective. Just turning up the music in the gym is not going to do the trick. Part of the battle is that multiple people are going to be yelling instruction. This includes your own coaches, coaches of the opponent as well as spectators. Not all of that advice is good, nor is it all meant for you. The goal is to be able to filter through the static until you can hear only your corner. If a tournament or other type of competition is not possible, the next best thing is to gather the troops and have an in-house competition type setting. It needs to have all three noise components; your corner, opponent’s corner and a crowd.
3. The Voices in Your Head
Coaches and cornering
Listening to multiple coaches can be challenging for all parties present.
Ideally, the only voice you want in your head is your corner and usually this means one single person. This isn’t always realistic because many fighters have multiple coaches. One may specialize in techniques on the feet and the other on the groundwork. If this is the case, there is a little more work to be done, but it is not impossible. If two people are going to be giving instruction from the outside the cage, they need to put some practice time in. They cannot both just show up on fight day and expect be able to give you coherent instruction not knowing what the other one is thinking. Plus, you will only get more confused when mid- round they start giving opposing instructions causing you to have to pick sides. It happens. Make them put time in together.
Your coaches are a resource that you can take with you into the cage, even though they are outside of it. Don’t neglect to practice using this valuable tool.