What Is The Best Age To Start Boxing?
While it may not get the non-stop attention of some other sports, boxing has quietly become one of the most popular sports in the United States. A recent poll showed that it is the fourth most popular sport in the country in 2022. Thus, many kids across the United States begin to box yearly. Read on to learn about the aspects of starting boxing at different ages.
Avoiding Parent Pressure
No matter the age a child starts to box, parents should always remember to avoid putting too much pressure on their child at an early age. There have been many studies that show the negative effect parent pressure on children in sports can have on them. Not only can there be damaging physical and mental effects, but kids can also begin to lose their love for the game. The key point for parents to remember is that they need to find the balance between pushing their child to get better and not pushing them to the point where it feels less like a game and more like a job.
Typically, kids at this age are too young to start real boxing matches or boxing classes. Kids in this age range do not usually have the strength and coordination to hit a punching bag or an opponent consistently. Additionally, understanding the fundamentals of the game and proper techniques can be difficult for these kids. Moreover, finding proper gloves for children this young can be challenging. That being said, if a child is showing interest in boxing this young, one thing they can do is known as shadow boxing. Shadow boxing is where a boxer practices by throwing air punches, and it can be an easy way to introduce the sport to young boxers.
Once kids enter this age range, they typically have the strength and coordination to begin actual boxing. Before investing in lessons that can sometimes be expensive, parents should make sure their kids are interested in the game. This can be done by trying shadow boxing with them and other basic boxing drills that do not involve equipment. If they show enough interest, the next step usually involves starting a kid with boxing lessons with an instructor so that they can learn the rules and proper techniques. From there, kids can begin to craft their skills and eventually fight other kids of similar heights and weights.
Ages 12 and Up
It is never too late to start boxing, so if a child is twelve or thirteen and wants to learn boxing, they certainly can begin to learn. Parents should be certain that they are signing their kid up for a beginner’s class or something close to it, as their kid’s skills will be behind those who began boxing at an earlier age. Even if they are just boxing for fun, the training can be a fun way to get valuable exercise. Boxing training involves lots of cardio, strength training, and core strengthening, all great methods for staying healthy and in shape. Even those in their 20s and 30s can begin to learn boxing and take advantage of the great conditioning the training provides.
While boxing is not an NCAA-sanctioned sport, there is a separate organization that provides boxing to college athletes. The National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) provides a method for students to box against other college athletes on an intramural, recreational, and competitive level. They have lots of eligibility requirements that can be found on their website. If a child wants to be able to box in college, particularly at the competitive level, they need to start honing their skills at an early age. They also will need to be sure that they keep their grades up to standard, as part of the eligibility involves staying academically eligible, and they need good grades to get to college in the first place.
If a child wants to box at the professional level, the idea of starting at an early age to perfect their skills is true to an even greater extent. Besides training hard and finding a great coach to teach the proper skills, a key step in becoming a professional boxer is getting a professional license to fight. First, a boxer obtains an official amateur boxer license; then, as a professional with one of the four major professional boxing organizations: the WBC, WBO, IBF, or WBA. Once you obtain this license, you can begin to fight other fighters within your organization. Usually, boxers as young as 15 can become official junior boxers, where they box with other junior boxers. Once they reach the age of 18, they are professionals and can fight a boxer of any age.
Obviously, boxing is a high-contact sport, so there are certainly safety concerns for parents to worry about. Boxing is known as a “high-contact combat” sport, meaning contact plays a key role in the objective of the sport. Contrastly, other high-contact sports such as lacrosse and hockey are known as “high-contact action” sports, which means contact is a secondary aspect of the game. To ensure that their child stays safe, parents should make sure their kids have the proper equipment, and their child’s trainer is teaching them the proper techniques to avoid unnecessary injuries.
How do I get my kid started with boxing?
You can start off your child with some basic boxing drills at home, such as shadow boxing, that involve little to no equipment and can help determine if your kid is really interested in boxing. If they seem to enjoy those drills, once they are around 6-7 years old, they can begin boxing lessons with a trainer at a local fitness club or boxing training studio. Typically, you can find postings for these online.
How old should my child be to start boxing?
The best age to start boxing lessons is usually around age 6 or 7. Before this age, most kids do not usually have the required strength, coordination, or attention span to focus and learn the proper techniques as well as train the right way. Nonetheless, children younger than age 6 or 7 can begin basic boxing drills, such as shadow boxing, at home to prepare them for eventually beginning real boxing training.
Can I teach my child boxing?
If you have boxed before and/or understand the rules and proper techniques, you should be able to teach your child boxing. One thing you can do to help introduce your kid to boxing is watching professional boxing on TV with them if they are interested. Watching those who are best at boxing compete at the highest level can be great to both teach them the sport and get them interested in boxing for life.
How do I pick a boxing coach for my child?
When searching for a boxing coach/trainer, there are a few key characteristics to look for. They should have experience both teaching and playing the sport of boxing, a solid system that your child can understand and learn from, and make sure their training focuses on the mind as well as the physical aspects of the game. Mental strength is just as important in boxing as physical strength, so it is important that your child’s coach/trainer does not ignore it.