Amateur Issue

Training in isolation – the long challenge facing boxing clubs

training
New guidance and insight for boxers and coaches training, while their clubs have to remain closed

IN light of the slight easing of the lockdown England Boxing have reviewed their guidelines for boxers and coaches training in isolation now while clubs and gyms have to remain closed. In summary:

  • Exercise and boxing activity can now take place as many times in a day as a person wishes, but must be conducted either individually or amongst those within a household in public spaces for things such as general fitness, aerobic training, running, cycling, agility work. Resistance / weight training is allowed, providing a person has access to their own equipment, as well as bag or pad work if confined to those in the household.
  • Additionally, one person from a household may meet up to exercise with another person in an outside public space (max two people in total). Where this occurs, they must maintain social distancing guidelines of being at a distance of at least two metres. So, potentially, a coach or another boxer could join them for sprinting / running, but not hold pads etc and there must be no sparring between two boxers. England Boxing have been advised that a person such as a coach / boxer could meet someone in the morning for exercise and meet another person later in the day.
  • A person, such as a coach, could meet a boxer to mentor them in a public space provided social distancing is maintained and safeguarding is taken into full consideration.
  • All coaching outside of this context is to be conducted digitally or by other means (such as telephone support), avoiding personal interaction.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, continued compliance with social distancing guidelines is to remain two metres away from people outside your household and you should maintain good hand hygiene, particularly with respect to shared surfaces. Those responsible for public places must be able to put in place appropriate measures to follow the new COVID-19 secure guidance. Normal safety considerations should also be considered.
  • All indoor gyms remain closed, all outdoors gyms are also not permitted at this time.
  • Those who are clinically vulnerable should check for further information on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

While online training and remote coaching predominate at this moment, safeguarding of course remains of vital importance. The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) have some further useful guidance that can be found online here: https://thecpsu.org.uk/news/2020-04-the-importance-of-safeguarding-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/. Another factor to bear in mind is increased communication through social media. All England Boxing’s safeguarding guidance can be found online here: https://www.englandboxing.org/clubs/child-protection-and-safeguarding/policies-and-procedures/.

Even as the government continues to ease the lockdown in some respects over the coming months, when it comes to amateur boxing it is highly likely that bouts and sparring will not be possible for quite some time after July. Going back to normal is some way off. For the time being boxers can remain fit, the next stage then would be an eventual return to non-contact training in a group whilst remaining socially distant, potentially outdoors still and this wouldn’t happen any sooner than July 4 at the earliest. For the time being coaches will have to plan for what further measures they might have to incorporate when clubs, eventually, are allowed to open. England Boxing have issued a guidance document for how they this process developing. Visit their website for further details: https://www.englandboxing.org/news_articles/england-boxing-board-release-guidance-document-around-lockdown-easing/.

At present training in isolation and remote coaching will have to do. Lee Pullen, one of the highly experienced coaches of the GB squad, provided an insight into how the Olympic squad is addressing this. “They are doing runs or bike sessions, strength and conditioning, technical work, bag work, video analysis and yoga. We have designed plans for each individual boxer and provided them with any equipment they need to fulfil these plans,” he said. “We have tried to mirror the way they would train if we were in camp in Sheffield. In the morning they run or do a bike session. These are individualised and tailored for the needs of each boxer.

“They are expected to do strength and conditioning work two or three times a week. These sessions are also individualised and reflect the unique outcomes we are looking to achieve with each boxer.

“There is also a lot of technical work, including shadow boxing and bag work.”

The trainers can oversee the technical sessions over video conferencing software. “Technology has been helpful in a number of ways. From a coaching point of view we’ve started doing some one-to-one sessions with the boxers so we can work on specific things and give them real-time feedback. The boxers have definitely appreciated it and it means they can have some good quality interaction with the coaches. It has gone a lot better than I expected personally,” he adds. “From a team point of view, the technology has helped us all to stay connected. The boxers can speak individually or in groups to the support staff.

“Even though, it’s an individual sport, they are still a tight-knit group, so it’s great that they can still have that interaction with each other.”

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

SOME potential sources of funding we haven’t previously mentioned on these pages include the Tesco Bags of Help COVID-19 Communities Fund. The new short-term fund to support local communities will provide a single payment award of £500 to organisations who are supporting vulnerable groups. The programme is set up to support organisational need in this time of crisis, rather than fund specific projects. Typically, the fund will prioritise organisations whose need for services has been disrupted, or need to put in place new services, or face increased demand. To access information about the fund see: https://tescobagsofhelp.org.uk/grant-schemes/tesco-cv-fund/.

The Youth Endowment Fund has opened a COVID-19 grant round to support vulnerable young people at risk of youth violence. It will help organisations adapt and deliver activities to reach and support these vulnerable children during the COVID-19 pandemic, under social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines. To be able to make an application, a club has to support children aged 10 to 14 at the risk of youth violence and can apply for funding of £25,000 and over. They must be seeking to deliver either digital or virtual programmes featuring one-to-one, group-based or guided self-help or interactive content or face-to-face activity that can be delivered while adhering to social distancing/stay-at-home guidelines, delivering detached youth work, activities within schools or activities helping young people return to school. The application window will be open until midday Wednesday June 3. For further information and guidance, please see: https://youthendowmentfund.org.uk/grants-2/covid-19-round/.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Initiative Fund has made a total of £200,000 available over the next six months to help fund voluntary and community activity which helps and supports people having to self-isolate under COVID-19 restrictions. Applications can be for funding up to £5,000. The deadline for applications is June 1. Find out more details here: https://www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/community-initiatives-fund/.

The North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Fund is taking into account the coronavirus outbreak and applies to projects that delivers diversionary activities for children and young people, that promote safety and reduce the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour and that prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, among other things. You can find out more here: https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/how-can-we-help/community-projects/apply-community-fund/.

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