Sparring document to help coaches after end of Covid-19 restrictions

July 15, 2021 | by Matt Halfpenny


England Boxing has issued a Sparring Resource document that may help coaches clarify the different approaches to sparring.

It aims to develop a consistent and shared understanding between coaches across England and assist its reintroduction as boxers return to full training and competition.

Among the topics covered are:

  • Safety, welfare, and regulations of sparring.
  • Outlining the sparring continuum.
  • How to manipulate and manage Sparring to meet the needs of the boxers.
  • Provide specific examples for coaches to consider.

The document has been produced as part of England Boxing’s Coach Development Strategy and was flagged as a key area needing clarification in England Boxing Level 2 Progression Workshops that have been held online this year.

You can access it by clicking here.

Be mindful as a coach

As a sport emerging from a pandemic that has affected boxing significantly, boxers will be returning to the gym at different levels of fitness, mental readiness to train and skill progression.

Coaching should meet the needs of the boxers and therefore consider a boxer-centred approach. Fundamentally, you need to create the right environment of support and development for all boxers.

Be very clear on when, how and why you are introducing sparring back into your coaching and planning. Consider the needs of the Boxers and ensure that the welfare and safety of the boxers are the basis for making decisions as a coach.

In relation to planning, ensure you understand what the end point is and work backwards, so outline specific training phases and ensure that the training is based on sound planning principles and meet the needs of the boxers you are coaching.

Key questions to consider are:

  • Is this the right time to introduce Sparring into the training programme?
  • Are the boxers conditioned, have the right level of skill and fitness been developed?
  • How can you introduce Sparring into training that meets the needs of the Boxers that ensures the safety and welfare of all Boxers?
  • How can the use of technique and condition Sparring effectively within training?
  • How does Sparring link with the overall plan and competition dates?
  • Consider the physical, mental wellbeing and social elements of the Boxers within your environment?

A reminder that a Level 2, 3 or 4 coach must be present to supervise sparring. Coaches should refer to section 3.7 / 3.8 (sparring) of the England Boxing Rule Book.