JUST WHAT CONSTITUTES "PROPER WORKOUTS" IS ONE OF boxing most controversial topics. I refer now to workouts just before the regular season and during the actual season after the boys have become physically conditioned by plenty of early road work, and have drilled upon and thoroughly mastered the fundamentals. Many of my college coaching friends believe in long workouts of 10 to 12 three-minute rounds each day, even though college-boxing rounds are two minutes. Under the same theory, they believe in working high school boys rounds of two minutes each, even though training for bouts of one-minute rounds. Their argument is that, if a boy can go the longer distance, he will be much better over the shorter distance during the actual contests, and that psychologically he will feel better. It has always been my contention that a boy in training should box rounds the exact length of those he will box competitively—workouts of two-minute rounds for college boys, and one minute for high school boys. My theory is that if a boy trains via longer rounds he develops a different pacing; he slows down the action, and during a regular bout he does not know how to time himself properly. He will not go "all out" as is necessary for one- and two-minute rounds. We have found it best for conditioning purposes if the boy moves fast and is on the go during the entire shorter round.
A typical workout, once the boy is in good physical condition and his legs are in shape, would be the following:
First Round—Shadowboxing. Loosening up. Warming the muscles. Trying all the punches.
Second, Third, and Fourth Rounds—boxing working hard and fast during the rounds. Complete relaxation between rounds. Fifth Round—Shadowboxing. Catching the wind and getting the heart back to normal rhythm and beat. Figuring out which punches worked best; which ones did not work; and the reasons for their failure. Sixth Round—punching the light punching bag. Excellent for sharpening the eyes, learning to keep the hands high, and becoming adept at punching fast. Seventh Round—More punching on the light punching bag, or on the heavy sandbag. Finish up with light body exercise and dash right into the showers. It may be seen from the preceding that I am an advocate of a short, fast workout instead of a long, dragged-out one. I have always believed that a boy gets into better condition for a short three-round bout by short, snappy workouts of six to seven rounds. The boys, furthermore, enjoy the shorter workouts and will work harder than if the workouts are prolonged and become monotonous. There must be no loafing from bell to bell. Maintain top speed all the way.
The preceding workout schedule is recommended for the heavy training prior to a bout. If preparatory to matches on a Friday night, the workouts as listed would be followed on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
The workout on Thursday, assuming it to be the day before the bout, would consist of the following: First Round—shadow-boxing and loosening up. Second Round—striking the light punching bag. Third Round—punching the heavy sandbag. Fourth Round—finishing up with light, loose body exercises. Then immediately take a shower. The purpose behind such a light workout the day prior to a match is to have the boxer conserve all his energy for the forthcoming bout. Friday's preparation would be as follows: Light breakfast, extent of which depends on the weight problem. Weighing in (time designated under the rules is usually at least six hours before the match begins). Immediately after the weigh-in period, the boxer eats his full meal. It is important that the meal is eaten approximately six hours before the bouts in order to allow sufficient time for the food to digest properly.
All athletes are normally excited on the day of a contest, hence their food requires longer to digest. A typical pre-bout meal would be as follows: fruit juice, head lettuce salad (French dressing optional), a good-sized tenderloin or T-bone steak, broiled or grilled medium rare or medium, according to individual taste (it should never be well done), buttered toast including honey if desired, and a fresh fruit cup dessert.
Tea is preferable, but a single cup of coffee is permissible if the individual does not like tea. Our boys take a walk of approximately 20 minutes immediately after the meal; then go to their rooms to rest until the time comes to leave for the matches. Most boys can sleep, but those who cannot should at least lie in bed and read. Some boys prefer a movie during the interim to take their minds off the bout ahead, but bed rest is advisable. The boys, upon arriving at the dressing room the evening of the bouts, should be made to relax as much as possible right up to the time for their individual bouts. It is a good practice while taping the boy's hands to quickly review with him the style of the boxer he is meeting and to emphasize the strong and weak points of both your boxer and his opponent. Excepting this last-minute advice, the boy will gain more by complete relaxation than by thinking about the forthcoming match. Once these preparations have been made, it is up to the boy to do his best. It is the coach's duty to advise him properly as his second during the one-minute rest period between rounds.