Simms: 'Indian boxers need better techniques, more tournaments'

JSW Sports' American coach Ronald Simms, who is in India to oversee Nikhat Zareen's performance at the National women's championship, spoke about his observations on Indian boxing in a small chat with Sportstar.

Ronald Simms believes the paucity of competitions for boxers impedes their rise.   -  Y. B. Sarangi

After having experienced a National boxing championship in India, American coach Ronald Simms is of the view that the country needs to tweak its approach towards coaching.

Simms, who has been working with JSW Sports since mid-September and serves US boxing as a volunteer coach, is here to oversee JSW-backed boxer Nikhat Zareen's performance in the National women's boxing championship.

Simms feels that pugilists need to perfect their techniques. “One thing I definitely see is that the boxers have a lot of heart. Some of their techniques may not be as good as others but they all come and give whatever they have,” Simms told Sportstar.

“There are a lot of coaches. From [what I have seen in] my short period, some techniques look different than what I used to see. For example, the punches they teach are correct but the foot movement is non-existent in getting to the target. They move and [when] they decide to throw in [the punch], they don't get to the target. I noticed that is one of the techniques which need improvement.”

According to Simms, it is tough to teach a boxer the right techniques once he/she graduates to a higher level. “It is very difficult because they have ingrained these [techniques] in them. When you try to tell them, the coaches say 'No, no’. Another flaw I see is, for some reason when they box and punch they want to rise. Power comes from the ground and by doing this you have no power and you are bigger [than the] target. Here [at the base], you have more foundation and stability. These are the basics of physical science.”

'All coaches on the same page'

Simms prescribes coaches' training to improve the overall standard of boxers in the country. “My advice for India would be to have all coaches on the same page. Training camps for coaches about the fundamentals – punching and movement of feet etc. Then the coaches can spread it to the athletes and the athletes can progress.

“Also, another thing I have noticed, you only have state and National championships. You need more competitions which make one better. More the competitions, the better one gets. There are not enough competitions. They need to have more bouts against each other. The more you do, the sharper you become.”

On his association with JSW, Simms said apart from guiding former World junior champion Nikhat Zareen for the 2020 Olympics, he would groom talented boxers for the 2024 Games.

“Nikhat has the potential to win a gold medal in the 2020 Olympics. I am with the JSW Sports, where she has all the things she needs for training. It is specifically for the Olympic Games.

“I am working in Vizianagaram, that's where our new institute would be (most likely in January). 2020 is here as far as training is concerned. I am going to bring in some younger athletes, 12 or 13-year-olds, and train them so that India can win medals in 2024. That's my main goal. All countries are now focused on 2024,” said Simms, who is also open to help out the National federation.