THE Youth boxers on the England team are being offered a programme to support their mental health as they follow their pathway through to elite sport.

England Boxing has linked up with Mental Health UK for a four-week online ‘Your Resilience’ course that is intended to help athletes manage their mental health and develop the confidence to speak up when they feel something is wrong. The course content has been adapted to cover key topics that are relevant to young boxers such as exam stress, weight management, social media and dealing with disappointing team selections, useful areas for rising talents to receive help.

“Competing at the top level of their sport, as these athletes are, obviously comes with a degree of pressure and it can sometimes be difficult for young people on our Talent Pathway to know exactly how to handle that,” said Andrea Rankine, England Boxing’s Interim Talent Pathway Manager. “Your Resilience provides a toolkit for them so that they can talk about it if a problem does crop up in an environment where so much focus has traditionally been around performance and physical health, rather than mental health.

“More than ever, there is a need to appreciate and understand from a coaching and team management point of view that it’s important to look after the person, not just the athlete.”

The course originally was meant to be delivered in person, but due to the coronavirus pandemic will have to be conducted through online sessions. A similar programme has already been used in schools and colleges but this has been tailored to the sport and young athletes. That is a productive exercise.

“We’re proud of the impact the programme has already made in equipping young people with the tools and techniques to build their resilience,” said Katie Legg, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Mental Health UK. “We are keen to get started with England Boxing and tailor this offering to meet the bespoke needs of the boxing community, where we know there has historically been a focus on physical health, and there is a growing need to promote positive mental health.”