As an athlete, we sometimes, maybe most times, or perhaps ALL the time, believe that no one else has to make sacrifices like we do. One might say it’s selfish of an athlete to think of themselves only, yet at times, we do teach them to not worry about other things – “Focus on training, leave the rest to me”.
While an athlete, I was aware of the many sacrifices my own coach made. I saw his gracious understanding, his Mahatma Gandhi like patience, his parent-like protection, his selfless sacrifices. I also saw how that was taken advantage of on many occasions, by many students. I always said to myself, I do not want to be a coach, I don’t have that kind of patience and understanding, or tolerance. I am not cut out of that cloth. But here I am today, doing more or less the same – being a coach. Because I have also seen the success of the hours and energy put in. Apart from the success in the ring, I have seen the success on the outside too. The students who became exemplars of discipline and respect, who pulled their lives together, who swear that if it wasn’t for the coach, they would be in a far worse place today.
Being an instructor, assisting in the gym by teaching classes is very different from being a full-time coach. I never fully appreciated that until I had the responsibilities of my own students, my own teams. Coaching is a 36 hour a day job. Yes, 36 hours. You have to think ahead, think previously, and of course think presently. You have to remember what happened, know what’s happening and foresee what is going to happen.
As a coach, you have to create so many worlds. So that each athlete has a world that revolves around them. As the athlete, you see one world, the one that revolves you. In moving from athlete to coach, it’s only then you truly understand what your coach did for you.. and even in some cases, what he or she didn’t do.
Bio: Ria Ramnarine became Trinidad & Tobago’s first World Champion in 2005 and has since gone on to not only win a whole host of championships in other combat sports as well as boxing, but has now become a world renowned coach. Working with Olympic hopefuls in the T&T national team, Ria also even runs her own national boxing programme to encourage more girls in T&T to take up boxing.