Safety and Rules
Before starting, it is important to create a set of rules particularly for the boxing sessions. Once rules are established, write them down on a piece of large paper and have all the girls and coaches sign this. Place this piece of paper in the room or area that the program will take place so that the girls are reminded of the rules each time they come in for a boxing session. If the session takes place in an outdoor area, have the coach carry the list with her/him to each session and read them aloud whenever a rule has been broken as a reminder.
Rules can be created collaboratively with the girls. Include some of the following if no one suggests them:
- Respect participants and coaches with the language you use and the actions you do
- Be on time to all sessions
- Take care of yourself, know your limits
- Respect your partner when doing partner drills, if they want to stop, then stop immediately
- Wear appropriate clothing during boxing sessions
- Everything you learn in the regarding fighting techniques, do not use them to resolve a conflict situation
- Communicate to your partner your limits before starting partner drills
- If you are not wearing gloves, be careful when boxing, especially with a partner
Don’t forget to include rules associated directly with boxing such as „no hitting below the belt“, participants must protect their head at all times and adhere to strict boxing technique when conducting partner exercises.
Careful: Boxing coaches should be well trained in the various boxing techniques before training beginners. Participants should also be well trained and understand the basics of boxing before coaches allow them conduct partner exercises. Sparring should not take place as part of the Boxgirls programme but only for intermediate boxers working with a boxing club under proper supervision and with the proper safety equipment (gloves, mouthguard, head guard).
Warm Up Activities
Warming up properly before boxing sessions is important. Part of the warm up can include movements that mimic boxing punches etc, or just doing some shadow boxing movements directly to warm up muscles and joints used in punching and boxing. Skipping rope is also tried and true boxing conditioning exercise.
It is also a good time for the participants to unwind from their life or forget what happened to them on that particular day and become focused on boxing and having fun. With younger girls, it is good to do warm up games that are fun as well as outlets for the stored energy they usually have.
Running is a good warm up and can be incorporated into fun games for younger participants, or done as is by older participants. Have participants run laps inside the room or the gym that you are using, or go for a short run with a coach or facilitator outside if it is culturally acceptable and safe. For games to incorporate running, see below.
Non-boxing sport warm ups
Sometimes playing another sport as a warm up to your boxing sessions is a fun way to start training. Have girls play a quick game of handball, football or basketball depending on your facilities. Do not focus on how the girls are playing the sport but rather if every girl is running around and moving, since the objective is to warm the girls up, not critique their skills in a different sport.
Cool Down Activities
Cooling down after a boxing session is as important as warming up. This is part of the session that calms everyone down, slows down heart rates and relaxes muscles before the discussion session or cleaning up and going home. There are several ways that you can do a cool down.
Yoga is a good activity for the cool down. Yoga not only helps relax, lengthen and strengthen muscles but also relaxes the mind. It is important to keep everyone quiet during this activity since part of the objective is create a calm and relaxing atmosphere.
Individual and partner stretching are also good cool down activities. Ask girls to partner up and then go through a progression of stretches in which partners help each other. Make sure to reach as many of the muscle groups as possible: Neck, shoulders and arms and wrists, back, torso and core abdominal muscles, hips, gluteus, and thighs, lower legs, ankles and feet.
Massages are another great way to cool and calm participants down after a session. This is great with young participants as well, who tend to be more hyper and active even after a long session of running around and boxing. This should only be done with same gender partners, males should not be partnering with female participants. One can start with pressured rolling of tennis or other indoor balls on each other for a massage effect as a way to make the touch less invasive if wanted.
As a coach or facilitator, speak in a low quiet voice. It is important to create a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. Ask participants to try and remain silent, close their eyes, focus on take deep large breaths and exhaling.