10 Youth Boxing Programs in Des Moines, Iowa
Boxing can help kids improve confidence, discipline, physical and mental strength, and motivation whether they choose to compete or just improve their overall fitness level. Many gyms focus on conditioning and learning boxing styles and techniques. The sport has also been known to provide a safe place for kids to channel their energy and become involved with something productive. As a result, boxing gyms often help provide a sense of community and support for youth and many places focus on helping kids be successful in boxing and successful in life. Here is a guide for boxing gyms in the Des Moines Metro.
BoxNBlaze Boxing Academy
Address: 4367 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 758-5166
Facebook: BoxNBlaze Boxing Academy Facebook
BoxnBlaze Boxing Academy was started by Coach Marwan. He has over 14 years of training and coaching and is licensed through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) for personal training. He works with three other coaches. Classes are held for ages 8 and up for all age ranges in the evenings with a focus on proper technique to avoid injury. They hope that families can train and interact together to support the family dynamic. Students can choose to be competitive or non-competitive. They offer a free class with a signed waiver.
Des Moines Police Boxing Club
Located in the Pioneer Columbus Community Center
Address: 2100 SE 5th Street, Des Moines
Contact Senior Police Officer John Saunders at (515) 237-1570 for information.
Des Moines Police Boxing Club provides a safe atmosphere to teach kids ages 10-18 to be successful in boxing and in life, the value of teamwork and honesty, and encourages positive relationships between youth and law enforcement. Senior Police Officer John Saunders has run the program since 2008 and says initially the program was started to help troubled kids that may need more support and structure and to help get them off the streets. Now more kids have joined that have experienced bullying and he states that being part of the program has helped them feel comradery with other kids.
The program is free and kids can choose if they want to compete. Kids must remain drug-free and away from gangs, be full-time students in elementary, middle, or high school, and follow the rules of the club to be members.
Hours are Monday-Friday from 3 PM-8 PM during the school year and from 10 AM-6 PM in the summer. Those who are interested can observe a class and then must fill out an application, sign a waiver and provide a copy of their physical to attend.
Pioneer Columbus Community Center also offers a Police Activities League (PAL) that provides after-school opportunities for kids ages 10-18 including soccer, football, golf, help with schoolwork, summer camps, sack lunch, and more. Click here to learn more about this amazing program.
Elimination Boxing and Fitness
Address: 1710 Guthrie in Suite Y, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 264-4041
Facebook: Elimination Boxing and Fitness
Coach Cardel James II has boxed since he was 3 years old and was a pro fighter. He re-opened the boxing gym after his clothing store was broken into and he found out that kids stole the merchandise. He wanted to open the gym to give kids something to do and help them be active. He says, “If you can listen to us disciplining you, then you should be able to discipline yourself.”
Classes are held Monday-Thursday from 5:30 PM to 8 or 9 PM depending on the workout. He holds class one on one with kids ages 5-8 to teach them boxing basics. They also offer a Youth Defense Class for ages 8-17 to teach kids the basics of boxing including how to wrap their hands, how to block, conditioning exercises, and stance. This class also helps kids with listening skills and provides structure. They emphasize the proper way to use boxing for training and not for picking fights. Fighters travel to different states and Coach James hopes to show them that there’s more out there instead of thinking that this (their current circumstance and environment) is all there is.
Pro fighters often help with the classes as well. Kids can try a few classes for free to see if they like it and parents can work out with the equipment while their kids are boxing. All coaches have participated in Golden Gloves, including Cardel’s sister, Loretta Kayjames, who was an Iowa Golden Gloves Champion and helps run another part of the program.
Youthful Generations is a non-profit organization that was started by Shamekia Harston, who is the CEO, and Loretta Kayjames, who is the president, to provide coaching (guiding kids and being a confidant), tutoring, classes such as cooking classes, and events for families. They are currently working to obtain other grants to provide further services.
Youthful Generations works in collaboration with the boxing program. Loretta states, “Our focus is to get the kids off the streets. Use the old for wisdom. The young have to teach the old what’s going on so we can help them. We have to come together as one to change that. That’s what we have here at Elimination Boxing.”
Los Gallos Bravos Boxing Club
Address: 6561 University Avenue, Windsor Heights
Phone: (515) 494-2703
Website: Los Gallos Bravos Boxing Club
Coach Jimmy started Los Gallos Bravos Boxing Club as a non-profit and is a registered coach with USA Boxing, the National Governing Body for Olympic-style boxing in the US, and has been coaching for 15 years. Classes start for kids at age 8, which follows the requirements of USA Boxing that kids must be 8 to register. Classes are held Monday-Thursday from 5 PM-7 PM for all ages. Workouts may include stretching, timed workouts like jump rope, and offense/defense training. Everyone starts with beginner exercises and you don’t need equipment to start. Classes are also learning at your own pace and there is no pressure to compete. Coach Jimmy also provides some outreach for at-risk youth.
Peña Boxing Foundation
Address: 2705 SW 9th Street, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 710-7393
Website: Peña Boxing Foundation
Peña Boxing Foundation is a non-profit boxing gym that focuses on youth development. It was started by Coach Pepe Peña who has 15 years of experience coaching. Boxing classes start at age 8 and include classes for ages 8-15 and classes for ages 16 and up. Payment is per month and there are no contracts. They also offer Adult Cardio Boxing Fitness which is non-competitive as well as personal sessions and small group sessions. Students don’t need to compete to join the classes. Hand wraps are required and heavy bag gloves are recommended. Their accomplishments include Silver Gloves and Junior Olympic State Champions, 2x Gold Glove Open Champion, National Silver Glove Champion, and Professional Mid-American Light Heavyweight Champion.
RockTop Strength Training and Boxing
Address: 3800 Merle Hay Road, Suite 1245, Des Moines
Phone: (219) 214-2370
Website: RockTop Strength Training and Boxing
RockTop Strength Training and Boxing was started by Taylor Moore to help kids deal with their emotions and learn discipline through boxing. He grew up boxing and states that being part of the gym helped keep him out of trouble and was one of the hardest things he did. He says boxing is a great way to exercise life lessons in a controlled environment.
Classes start at age 5 and include Scrappy Doo Boxing Club for ages 5-7, Youth Boxing for ages 8-12, and Boxing Club for ages 13 and up. All classes focus on fundamental boxing training and games, and exercises to learn balance, coordination, discipline, technique, and physical conditioning. Youth Boxing and the Boxing Club also introduce sparring after kids are ready and if they want to spar. They travel around the Midwest for competition. There is also Competition Club on Wednesdays and Fridays which is a smaller class for those that want to compete and learn more advanced techniques.
Every three months he implements “challenge work” like doing something nice for someone without them knowing or giving to someone in need as part of his Character Building Program.
Bad Mom’s Club is an all-women’s class (whether you are a mom or not) held on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and includes cardio, strength/conditioning, hitting mitts, and learning boxing techniques with no sparring. Perfect for a great workout after dropping your child off at school!
Sarge’s WestSide Boxing Club
Address: 2214 Forest Avenue, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 657-0882
Coach Sarge was with the police department from 1981-2017 and ran their non-profit boxing gym. After their location changed, he opened Sarge’s Westside Boxing Club in 2017. Classes start at age 5 and are held in the evenings. Everyone uses the same equipment so that kids can start on the same playing field including headgear, mouthpiece, gloves, and hand wraps. The gym focuses on teaching kids discipline and life skills. Coach Sarge states, “We know everybody is not going to be a world champion. We are looking more at building kids to be lawyers, doctors, professors, firefighters… and to see the value of education and the discipline that it takes.”
He states kids can decide if they want to compete or just take classes to improve physical fitness. He also has some kids join that are experiencing bullying, kids that are struggling in school or with behavioral issues and they attend from all around the metro. They compete throughout the year and travel to every state touching Iowa.
They also have trackers, that with parent permission, check on the kids at school as well as their attendance and behavior to help support kids and their families. They emphasize parental involvement and helping the community. In the past, they provided volunteer opportunities for the kids to give back by handing out turkeys over Thanksgiving and hams at Christmas.
The program has tutors on site that are certified teachers and help with anything from teaching smaller kids to tie their shoes, learning life skills like telling time, and learning math, English, or Spanish. The gym honors several kids per month as “student-athlete” if they are doing well in the program, demonstrate good attendance, and keep their grades up. Coach Sarge states, “Boxing is more like thinking, and like chess, you have to have the right moves and respect for your opponent. Just like in school you may not like that teacher, but you have to respect that teacher.”
The gym also has a women’s class on Mondays/Wednesdays from 6-7:30 PM and Men’s classes on Tuesdays/Thursdays with the older boys. They offer the first class for free.
Southeast Des Moines Boxing Club
Address: 1414 Maury Street, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 689-4496
Website: Southeast Des Moines Boxing Club
Southeast Des Moines Boxing Club is a non-profit organization and the longest-running boxing club in Des Moines. They teach boxing as well as discipline and positive thinking for adults and youth starting at age 8. They hope to provide an encouraging place and positive role models. Classes are Monday-Thursday from 5-7 PM. They are a competitive gym that travels across the United States but anyone can join whether they want to compete or not. Workouts are according to skill level and may include strength and conditioning (such as push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks), shadow boxing, and eventually bag work and working with mitts.
Coach Mike Timblin states kids can try it for a week or so to see if it’s a good fit before paying the monthly fee. He states kids join for a variety of reasons including bullying, wanting to improve physical fitness, improve self-esteem and improve confidence.
Title Boxing Club West Des Moines
Address: 9500 University Avenue, Suite 1105, West Des Moines
Phone: (515) 493-4486
Website: TITLE Boxing Club West Des Moines
Title Boxing Club is a franchise club that offers full-body workouts in no-hit boxing, kickboxing, and personal training for kids and adults. Their T.K.O Kids Class is 45 minutes on Saturdays starting at age 4. Kids can join the regular adult classes offered throughout the week depending on maturity level around ages 8-12. If the family is unsure whether their child should join the kid’s class or the adult class they can try both classes to determine the best fit as the first class is free. Wraps are required for everyone and are available for purchase at the club in a variety of colors and even glow-in-the-dark for $12 each.
Classes are a great way for kids to burn off energy, improve confidence and get to work with mitts and bags. This is also a great option for families that want to try boxing and kickboxing without contact.
There are many great boxing opportunities for kids in Des Moines that provide a positive and encouraging environment to help them succeed. Choose the best one for your child (and you!) from this list.