Keith McLachlan on what it takes to be a coach
Keith McLachlan is no stranger to Muay Thai and has been around the block when it comes to stepping into the ring with the best. Keith is currently ranked No.1 at 59kg, trains and is a coach at the Griphouse Gym in his hometown of Glasgow. When you fight, the amount of knowledge you must soak in, through training, non-stop thinking about Muay Thai, your opponent, eating, running, hitting pads, sparring, these essential things are a part of your syllabus to become a great fighter.
When you train, your coach is someone who you can rely on to hand over the best of their knowledge, reassurance, faith, time and effort, to make you the best possible version of yourself and prepare you for not only fighting but for taking on life’s most challenging situations.
One thing I will always take from my training is that nothing is worse than doing 150 burpees, then doing 5 rounds on the pads and sparring to follow. If you can do that and not die, then everything else seems… Easy. I had a quick catch up with Keith about his transition into coaching and what it actually takes to be a coach and here is what he said:
Dom: How does coaching help supplement income as a fighter?
Keith: “For some fighters it is their only way of earning when they’re not fighting but for me it’s a nice bonus but, not essential, as I work full time anyway.”
Dom: What is it about coaching that means so many fighters or ex-fighters become coaches?
Keith: “For me, it’s just a natural progression from being a fighter to becoming a coach. Passing on what you have learned. It’s also a way to keep involved in the sport when the time comes to hang up your gloves”
Dom: Do you have to have finished fighting to be a coach?
Keith: “Definitely not, I’ve been coaching for years now and still been fighting. I think most fighters coach in some manner whether it be taking classes, PT’s or padding other fighters.”
Dom: How hard is the transition over to be a coach?
Keith: “I don’t know yet. It’ll be hard though when I have to stop fighting but I need to think about our fighters and what is best for them and the gym so it makes sense for me to retire soon.”
Dom: Can everyone be a coach?
Keith: “Everyone can be a coach. Not everyone can be a good coach and everyone can’t coach anyone. Some coaches just click with students/fighters that other coaches have been unable to do anything with. It’s a skilled person who can deal with different types of people as well as make them all work together. That’s why we are blessed to have Guy Ramsay at the Griphouse, he can deal with all different kinds of people and get the best out of them.”
Dom: What does it really take to be a coach?
Keith: “Patience, enthusiasm. You are more than a coach for some, you need to be a shoulder to lean on, an ear to bend, a parental figure. A million different things lol”
Dom: What don’t people see?
Keith: “All the above stuff, dealing with people’s mood swings or when things haven’t worked as planned. You need to take the blame for everything because it is your responsibility to take away all the bad stuff around your fighters to make them as happy as possible and able to produce their best work on fight day. Nothing hurts more than when your fighter loses because you feel responsible for it. Yet on the other hand when they win it’s because they have done all the hard work and they rightfully get the light shone on them. So, you really have to take the dark side from fighters and take all the weight off their shoulders.”
Dom: Coaches tend to be the managers of fighters too, how does that work when you have a lot of fighters in the gym?
Keith: “It’s a nightmare, fighters all want to fight from Jnrs to A-class fighters and fighters are a selfish breed (you have to be) so they think that you’re getting everyone fights and not trying for them, they’re wrong but nothing makes sense in a fighter’s head sometimes.”
It does take something special to be able to tap into someone’s potential and bring out the best in the through their training. You can spend a lot of hours in the gym a week with your friends and coaches so you very quickly become close and get to know what makes each other tick.
What do you think about coaching? Do you think you have what it takes? Let us know in the comments below and share your thoughts. Thanks Keith for taking the time to write up his thoughts on the subject!
Here is an interview we did together at The Tankō main Event last year: