After picking up her younger brother and his friends from a Boxing4Life session, JJ expressed a desire to become a coach. B4L enrolled JJ on the ABA Box England Coaching training course. Now 19, JJ is one of our regular coaching staff. We interviewed her:
How did you hear about the club?
"I was about 13 when I joined. At the time, I was looking to join a sport to challenge myself both mentally and physically. So my Mum asked around and a friend introduced her to Boxing4Life. It sounded like exactly what I was looking for, so I went down to have a look and loved it! I was instantly made to feel like I was an old friend, there was definitely an open and welcoming environment, I appreciated this."
How would you describe yourself back then?
"Back then I was a very shy, slim girl. I was athletic but I lacked the confidence in myself. I found it very difficult to make friends, to speak out and move outside of my comfort zone."
What did you like most about Boxing4Life?
"Apart from the exercise, which I have always had a passion for, my favourite thing is the fact that the coaches were always there to listen. They were more than just coaches that taught you boxing, but someone you could look up to and speak to, almost like a second family."
Retrospectively, can you describe the impact of attending Boxing4Life?
"Oh yes... I developed a lot. Boxing helped my realise the power which I was holding inside of me; it showed me I was strong and capable of more things than I thought. It taught me to believe and stand up for myself. I began making a lot of friends there as everyone is so friendly and accepting. I became more open, sociable. In my personal life I was no longer afraid to set big goals and aspirations for myself and my future as I saw I am capable of anything if I have confidence in myself."
Returning as a coach - what was your motivation?
"My motivation was the children. Boxing helped me to transform the way I see and think about myself and the world. I wanted, I want to show other children who join, for whatever reason, issues with anger or confidence, whatever the motive, I want to say "you can do it! I did!" I went from being a shy little girl (she chuckles) to a boxing coach."
Can you think of any developmental ideas for the club?
What the club really needs is our own space with a boxing ring, a place to call home. It will give us the means to help more children. This is a key motivator - by having the space to invite more of them along. We can hang out more boxing bags and make it really look and feel like a boxing gym."