This research was commissioned by Fight 4 Change, part funded by London Metropolitan University and undertaken by the Performance with Purpose Research Centre. London Metropolitan university Performance with Purpose Research Centre London Metropolitan University’s Centere for Performance. The research was undertaken by Dr. Stephen Hills and Dr. Nwando Onuigbo-Chatta.
Rollin With The Punches In Practice: What We Deliver
Rollin’ with the Punches is a boxing-based intervention that uses circuit training, volunteer/social action components and on-demand counselling services to treat mental health, physical health and social and emotional wellbeing holistically.
Fight 4 Change coaches and workers have extensive experience working with the ‘hardest to help’ and the most disadvantaged groups. They are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and supportive physical activity leaders able to instil confidence in participants’ ability to recover and achieve good wellbeing.
The boxing sessions were designed to work as an analogy. Boxing works effectively as an analogy because it is fun and meaningful. Participants can be framed as fighters who can be resilient to life’s challenges by using the rich content of boxing. The curriculum covered a series of modules aimed at alleviating symptoms of mental illness and reducing the vulnerability of participants.
• The Mental Toughness module, designed to develop resilience in participants through drills and games, and reflection on how their skills make them more
• The ‘Controlling the Ring’ module aimed to train participants in how to control emotions, such as anger, within the ring and how to control nerves in the build-up to a fight. Participants were also trained in sport psychology techniques including meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, and emotional recovery techniques
• The Positive Mental Attitude module used several ‘underdog’ boxing stories to inspire participants to focus on a positive mental attitude no matter how impossible the task may Participants were trained applying sport psychology techniques, including visualisation, positive self-talk, and undertook drills where the odds were stacked against them.
• The ‘Climbing Off the Canvas’ module aimed to demonstrate to participants that it is possible to achieve a desired outcome even when things don’t go to plan and adversary occurs. Participants developed coping strategies and routines to deal with adverse scenarios before they encounter them.
• Symptoms of depression include giving up on the ‘will to live’ and an inability to make decisions. Goal-setting was used to overcome these barriers and pursue physical activity.
• Mental health sufferers can accept prejudices about mental illness and turn against themselves, leading to a loss of self-esteem. The ‘Belief of a Champion’ module used boxing drills to counter these symptoms, and encouraged participants to focus on their achievements and how they made them
• To ounter symptoms of depression, participants used boxing drills that focused on teamwork, seeking help and developing trust. They were then asked to reflect on other scenarios and challenges in their life where they could benefit from teamwork and other sources of help.
• Stigma can result in mental health sufferers turning to substance abuse, so the ‘Camp Conditioning’ module taught participants how to achieve optimum conditioning by staying away from unhealthy foods, alcohol, drugs and smoking. This was all combined with discussion groups, counselling session when required and a What’s App group to aid as a community of those Rollin’ with the Punches is a boxing-based intervention, designed to treat mental health, physical health and social and emotional wellbeing holistically as an alternative to clinical and medical intervention, as part of a social prescription agenda.