Joseph Diaz, Jr. an American boxer trying to win his first Olympic gold medal, knocked out Ukrainian boxer Pavlo Ischenko in the bantamweight opener Saturday.
He talked about his hopes of winning the gold to help his family make ends meet, but what was the secret to his successful fight over the weekend?
YouTube. Yes, that YouTube.
He told Reuters about his strategy: “After I got the draw, I looked him up on YouTube. A lot of fighters just look up all the fighters that they’re going to be going against, that’s part of our training.”
Diaz added: “I just realized this guy is human just like me, he sweats, he bleeds and he’s nervous just like me so I’ve got to do what I do, and I ended up pulling the ‘W’ [win].”
Despite having little coaching experience, his father and coach, Joseph Diaz, Sr., also used YouTube as a training tool for his son before the younger Diaz hit the ring while studying the sport.
While YouTube may be known for its independent creators, eccentric web personalities and as a place where “reply girls” roam freely, it does have an ample share of content tailored towards fitness buffs and sports enthusiasts needing some extra help. Search your favorite sport and you’ve got countless clips of past games and even tips to put yourself at an athletic advantage.
But is watching countless YouTube videos to gather information and strategies on an opponent the future of Olympic training? Yes, but watching hours of video footage of your opponent or past great races won’t necessarily make you a better boxer or a faster runner. YouTube viewers can definitely take notes from these training videos to improve technique, but if they’re betting that YouTube alone will get them a gold medal, then they’re not working hard enough.
While Diaz’s success in the ring can be partly attributed to studying his opponent, he still has a long way before reaching for a gold medal. Whatever the ultimate outcome, it is clear that YouTube has been a good strategic tool to find out an opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. No matter what sport you’re practicing, it’s amazing how a few YouTube videos can make a difference between going home without winning and inching closer to that coveted gold medal.