10:21am Tuesday 4th March 2008: Boxing Clever To Beat Those Exam Blues

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10:21am Tuesday 4th March 2008: Boxing Clever To Beat Those Exam Blues

Post  Paddy on Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:19 pm

Boxing Clever To Beat Those Exam Blues
10:21am Tuesday 4th March 2008

By Hayley Court
PUPILS at Dorcan School have taken up boxing as a way to combat exam fear and self-esteem issues.

The youngsters, all aged 13 and 14, are rubbing shoulders with professional boxers Ben Harding and Jamie Cox as they are coached about how to apply boxing to everyday learning.

The course, now into its fourth week, is the brainchild of Boxing Academy coach Paddy Fitzpatrick.

Paddy, 38, aims to use the sport as a hook to help young people worried about exams.

With their SATS tests just around the corner the youngsters are being put through their paces during a 90-minute session incorporating boxing and school.

The academy travels to the school in Covingham on Mondays and Wednesdays where it holds boxing lessons for 70 minutes followed by 20 minutes of academic tutorials.

On Saturdays the children take their lessons to the Boxing Academy in Maxwell Street where they spend the morning boxing followed by lesson time.

Paddy, who came up with the idea while living in America, said: "The aim is simple - to see these kids create the confidence to see them through their exams.

"Boxing is something we ultimately want to see back in schools and this is a demonstration of how the disciplines used by boxers can be applied to learning."

Former boxing pro Denroy Bryan said that the sport would work wonders on the youngsters' confidence.

The 48-year-old, who was a pro boxer for 11 years, said: "Out of 100 children we may find five that have a talent for it but we aren't here looking for the champions of tomorrow at the moment we are working on the here and now.

"Many of these children have self-esteem issues which can make them victims of bullying and failure.

"We want to use boxing as a way to build them up so they feel stronger and more able and can cope with the everyday stresses their school lives can bring."

The coach said the academy isn't about promoting violence.

He said: "Boxing requires discipline, restraint and confidence.

"These are the qualities we hope to pass on to these kids to give them a greater sense of self worth.

"If you respect yourself and have a high self-esteem you are less likely to fall victim to bullies and also less likely to rely on bullying tactics yourself.

"You go through all of life's emotions when you're in that ring - why not prepare for that now."

Knockout idea, says Jamie
COMMONWEALTH boxing champion Jamie Cox is fully behind the boxing scheme aimed at helping youngsters achieve in school.

The 21-year-old gold medallist claims that the course is the first of its kind in the country.

He said: "There is nothing else like this out there so we're pleased to be the first.

"I remember at school getting bored sitting in a classroom all day. I needed something to put my energy into and it's the same with these kids."

Jamie, of Woodhall Park, has been on hand offering youngsters advice on their boxing technique.

He said: "This is a fantastic scheme for the kids in Swindon and with some hard work from both them and the coaches it'll see them through their exams.

"I just wish there was something like this available when I was growing up. It would have kept a lot of us out of trouble."

Cox made his professional debut in July 2007 against East Ham's Johnny Greaves in the light welterweight division.

He said: "I am lucky to have got here at 21 and to have boxed for England.

"Some of these kids may get that opportunity one day but if not then they will have been able to use boxing disciplines to achieve a proper education."

That's exactly what 13-year-old Sasha Nobbs hopes to do.

Dorcan school pupil Sasha from Liden signed up for boxing to help her relieve exam stress.

She said: "The SATS are only about 10 weeks' away and I am nervous.

"I think boxing really helps your confidence as well as take your frustration out on something.

"It would be good to see boxing in all schools eventually."

British heavyweight Ben Harding, 36, agrees.

He said: "It's important that kids appreciate their education and I think getting them to earn boxing time helps to do that.

"There's no guarantee we'll get champion boxers out of this but I hope every child that has taken part in the course can leave at the end of it feeling more confident, fitter, and have a greater feeling of self-worth."
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