By Sarah Tone, Communications Coordinator
As a lifelong student of the sport, Head Coach Kent Brown is ready to train the Team Manitoba boxing team the same way he was taught.
“I’m a very firm coach in how we get things done, but, like my coach, I try to come across in a gentle way,” he says. “That means being straight with the athletes when they’re doing something wrong but also praising all of the things they do right.”
Since his early boxing days, Kent says he’s always known that while yes, boxing is about hitting and being hit, it is also about camaraderie. He likes to joke that he’s been coaching since he started, helping out the younger kids in his gym, but he officially became a coach in 2004.
Running, sparring, visualizing
Not only do the boxing athletes have a rigorous training schedule, they also spend much of their time watching film and trying to get into the heads of their opponents.
“People who don’t know a lot about the sport tend to think it’s just about aggression,” he says, “But I like to refer to it as a human chess match because while you’re trying to hit your opponent, you also have to think about how they’re trying to hit you.”
Therefore, each athlete gets a very tailored approach to prepare for a competition like the Canada Winter Games. On top of the physical training of jogging/sprinting, sparring and weight training, the athletes also spend hours dissecting films of their opponents to help create a mental game plan for their matches. They must also follow a strict nutrition plan designed to help them stay within their weight class.
“I like to create a workback from the day of their match to the start of their training and have every day planned so my athletes know exactly what they need to be doing each day to prepare.”
Knock your opponent down, help them get back up
Kent says he instills the notion into his athletes that what they learn in the gym is not to be used outside of training, sparring and competing. In competition, the focus is hit and not be hit. But win or lose, after the match is over, the focus is on the friendships the athletes form with one another.
“What I tell the parents of my athletes is that boxing is one of the best things to teach kids of all ages,” he says. “It teaches discipline and camaraderie and helps build confidence.”
At the Canada Games
Boxing returned to the Canada Games stage in 2019 after a longstanding showing on the winter sport program from 1971-2011. While only male athletes have competed to date, female athletes will square off as of the 2023 Canada Games for the perfect one-two punch.