Boxing Training & Successful Teams

BY K.B. Reidenbach // Managing Parter

An unlikely combination

I’ve always loved the sport of boxing.

I enjoy it so much that I went so far as to become certified by the USA Boxing organization as a Level One trainer. That empowered me with the tools to further grow my knowledge of the sweet science. 

Interestingly enough, it also gave me a framework for building a successful Account team. 

Allow me to introduce you to the idea of periodization.  

In the concept of periodization, there is an implementation of specific training phases that all build upon one another to help achieve a goal.  

The way I was taught, a Periodized Boxing Training program was broken out into 3 cycles: 

Microcycle – A number of training periods interrelated in order to achieve one or more specific objectives. 

Mesocycle – Between 2-6 microcycles in which you would expect to witness some type of gain or a measurable adaptation.  

Macrocycle – Referred to as the competitive season, this is a number of mesocycles that are usually both preparation (workout) and competitive (boxing/sparring) in nature. 

All are designed to achieve 3 core goals: 

  1. Increase aerobic endurance 
  2. Increase muscular strength 
  3. Increase explosive strength  

You also have to layer in some boxing technique along the way! 

As you can imagine, there are thousands of ways to put together a training program to meet these goals. 

For example, in an aerobic period you can have your athlete complete 3 minute heavy bag rounds with 20 seconds recovery periods followed by 200-400m sprints with short recovery. In the next phase, you are adding on compound work such as deadlifts, squats and pull ups to add muscular strength. Finally, you start to pull it all together by layering in explosive strength work such as pad drills in which the goal is to land 3-5 hard hooks in less than one second (repeated 30 times). 

Everything builds in a systematic way to prepare a world-class athlete for competition.  

It is never a one size fits all approach in terms of the tactics, but the process is always the same.  

While at times we can indeed spar with clients in this agency world of ours, we are marketers and are not fighters. However, as agency leaders we are coaches trying to prepare a team to perform to their maximum potential. Growth is something all of our team members crave, but in the pace of agency life, sometimes the focus on growth can be placed on the back burner. 

It is a challenge I acknowledge that many agencies struggle with but one we are fully committed to attacking the same way Mike Tyson aggressively pounced on his opponents in his prime in the 1980’s.   

For our Accounts team, I take the same periodization approach to building a great Account Manager as I would an up and coming fighter.  

The foundation starts with our clients’ business and ensures that our Accounts team has the tools (and the time) to be the experts around their clients’ businesses and industries. That industry and brand expertise is the foundation that is just as important as a boxer’s cardiovascular endurance.  

To build upon that fundamental strength, we then focus on building meaningful relationships and gaining a deep understanding around how our internal and external teams work. This comprehensive knowledge of the brands we support, industry insights and how we deliver each day provides us the opportunity to bring it all together to constantly challenge the status quo and proactively bring new ideas that move our clients’ business forward.  

For example, the below framework could provide structure to a new Account Manager transitioning to a new account: 

Microcycles (creating a foundation) – Brand Business Objective Immersion, Industry/Consumer Research, Competitive Audits, Account History Training, Internal Team Roles/Responsibilities Training, Channel Strategy Mastery 

Mesocycles (using what was learned during Microcycles to collaborate on delivery) – Performance Report Creation, Media Plan Development, Content Calendar Refinement, Insight Development 

Macrocycles (putting it all together to grow an account) – Strategy Planning, QBRs, Performance Optimization, Business Consulting, Pitching New Opportunities 

A great fighter wins because he or she is technically sound as a boxer while also being able to outlast an opponent from a strength and an endurance perspective.  

A great Account Manager wins because he or she deeply understands the brands and industries they support and they know how to use that knowledge in the context of the opportunities presented by the insights that have been uncovered. They also know how to empower their teams to capitalize on those opportunities. The strength is in the thinking and the victory comes with the ability to successfully act upon it.  

In the end, clients ultimately hire Levelwing and stay with us for our thinking. That applies to all of us in the agency world. We intentionally focus our growth on optimizing how we generate those winning ideas.   

While there are numerous things we do on an ongoing basis to grow in these areas (which is another article for another day), our approach to become the best Account Team we can be is very systematic (even if it doesn’t seem that way on the surface).  

Each element builds upon the previous cycle until you’ve achieved that next goal. 

For our Account Team, that goal is to be the undisputed expert of our clients’ business and know how to inspire great work from our teams based on that deep knowledge.