Before starting a boxing program in your community, there are basic needs that an organization must consider in order to have a successful and sustainable program.
One of the first basic needs is space. For a boxing program, you must have a space that is relatively flat with no holes or obstacles that could cause anyone to trip or fall. This space should large enough to accommodate everyone during a particular session and would have access to a place where girls can change their clothes before and after and wash themselves when they finish boxing. This is important for girls in many communities, who cannot necessarily wear their boxing or sports clothes out in the streets.
- Ideal: Ideally, this would be a boxing gym that already exists in the community which as given you permission to use its facilities. These facilities should have a locker room and bathroom where girls can change their clothes and wash up with water after they train.
- Alternatives: Some alternative spaces could include local community centres, churches, schools or other public or private buildings where you can clear out desks or chairs from any large room and use chalk or tape to mark a boxing ring if desired. You can also use spaces outside however, make sure the area is flat and hard (hard packed dirt, concrete or even short grass). Also, if it rains frequently in your area, this space should have a roof to prevent cancelled sessions.
Also, remember that an important objective of the program is making women and girls feel comfortable, confident and strong. Especially in the beginning of the program, it might not be a good idea to hold sessions in areas where there is a lot of people walking through, particularly boys and men, who might be inclined to stop and watch or make comments. Provide an area for girls to change. If this is not possible, then at least make sure they have access to a bucket of water or a local public toilet where they can wash themselves quickly after a training session. Another consideration is the distance of travel for participants. Long travel distances for girls could restrict their participation, particularly because of cost and time. It could also put them in greater danger when travelling, especially if they are alone or at night. Make sure girls can get to and from the centre or school safely.
Although boxing requires a minimal amount of equipment, this equipment can be sometimes difficult to acquire since boxing is not always as popular as other sports in every community. It is also important to store the equipment you do have securely. Gloves wear out quickly and if are being used by other groups of boxers, will not last too long.
|Hand wraps||2,5m long cotton or polyester bandages with a velcro closure used for wrapping hands||strips of cotton from a sheet, elastic bandages|
|Boxing gloves||Ideally, you would like to have one pair per participant||*At least one or two pairs per group|
|Hand pads||Pads that are worn on hands and used to practice throwing punches by a partner or various partners||Open palm, or palm with towel/cloth wrapped around it to create cushioning|
|Punching Bag||Large leather, vinyl or canvas bags hung from the ceiling and used for punching exercises||Make your own: Fill any sturdy sack (made from a material that is not abrasive and won’t break if punched) or a back pack with clothes or other soft materials and either hang it or hold it during exercises|
|Shoes||Ideally, shoes with good ankle support should be worn when boxing||If proper boxing shoes are not available, then it is important the participants wear shoes that are stable on their foot and are not too large so that their foot slides around. This could lead to rolling or spraining ankles. Participants should not wear sandals. Depending on the floor or space and if it is safe, bare feet are better than sandals.|
|Clothing||T-shirts or long sleeve shirts with shorts or long athletic pants||Alternatives could be any clothing that participants feel comfortable boxing in, depending on their community and culture. When possible, participants should avoid wearing tight jeans or heavy, thick or restricting clothing that would not be conducive to regular athletic movements.|
*Participants can take turns doing drills with the one/two pairs of gloves while the rest use their bare fists. Of course, if gloves aren’t available, then most drills can be done with bare fists or hands wrapped in bandages although if this is the case, you must be extra careful that participants do not hit each other as this could cause harm. Several of the drills and games must be adapted.