by Al Alvir
More people quit when they don’t have a target goal and an estimated amount of work that needs to be put into reaching those goals. Most gyms, however, use intangible language: 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc. How fighters perceive time must make sense.
Are your fighters losing focus or quitting at times you don’t expect them to quit?
The problem is not necessarily them. Did you explain what is needed to reach every individual’s goals in your gym? Did you even bother to set individual goals? If not, so much for your individualized training mumbo jumbo.
6 months of training is a lot different for someone training bi-weekly than someone who trains 3x a week. Also, some people train for 2 hours a day, others only a measly 1 hour. Intensity of training is another factor that cannot be easily measured. In mma, splitting up a day for boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ means more time or more focus needs to be put in. I’ve seen gyms where fighters stretch separately for each discipline and waste tremendous amounts of energy warming up even when they’ve built heavy sweats. That’s due to the BS class structure I always criticize.
In regards to time, if someone had allotted 75 hours of training in 3 years, it would only equal 25 hours a year. The best way, or the least evil way, for that to allow any retaining of knowledge would be for a person to train for 1 hour every two weeks. For a full-time professional fighter, 75 hours in 3 years can mean about three days of training a year. Retaining knowledge in such a way – or the former – is highly unlikely. Neither way works; it’s just not enough time training. Ubiquitous studies in academics show that this happens with people when there is a lack of goals and an indefinite time (see achievement goals and educational foundation). Fighters simply need target goals AND a given time to reach it. They need a periodic finale… followed by time off. Then a new goal and a new finale and more time off. Top professionals’ finales are fights. For early stage fighters, finales could be almost anything. It’s up to the trainers to help set that focus.
It is, therefore, necessary to account for hours, days, and frequency (average days between trainings) of supervisional trainings by keeping a detailed log. Boxing culture doesn’t make this easy, but I don’t mean to take attendance to reward or hold back anyone like a dumb McDojo, but only to account and analyze progression, regression, and how individuals learn. If a guy shows up 5 times a week for months, any trainer has to figure, “This guy will get burnt out, so I need to set goals and give him a date.”
Note: if there is a fighter who is excelling quickly but with fewer hours and frequency than others, you can assess talent or see what that particular fighter is doing differently. Training at home? Exceptional learning curve? Sneaking off to a better gym?
Fighters must take time off. Training in boxing and mma is more intense than any other pursuit and, like baseball and football, fighters need time away from the gym and ring, their field. It’s just as important as time in the gym. Even top pros who typically train 8 intense weeks train throughout the day with long breaks. It allows them to be more efficient.
When they win, they go to Disney World just like everyone else.