Telford’s fighters will have to learn to box clever again

Telford ABC have been dealt a tough blow in recent months, but coach Linzi Jarratt believes there is finally a ray of hope for Shropshire’s amateur boxers...writes Bradley Rice

Fighters from Telford ABC are having to make do with outdoor sessions as they await a return to the ring
Fighters from Telford ABC are having to make do with outdoor sessions as they await a return to the ring

The club had been closed since March due to the coronavirus but Jarratt and her fellow coaches have now resumed non-contact training.

Under the latest government guidelines, one coach can meet up with five boxers as long as training takes place outdoors and strict social distancing protocol is observed.

Jarratt is itching for the chance to work closely with her protégées again, after admitting she has found it difficult to monitor their progress from afar.

“We are lucky as we have a bit of a car park area,” said Jarratt. “We have mannequins, that we can move outside. Then there is skipping and shadow boxing.

“It will be similar to what our boxers have been doing, but the difference is we can visually see them and motivate them.

“When they are in the club environment, they can’t escape, the sessions are set and they are here.

“We, as coaches, are the ones motivating them. With boxing its very visual – stance, guard, footwork – we can correct it if it’s not right, but from home, it is very difficult to do so.

“Our fighters know all the basics, drills, writing session plans and we have been trusting them to follow them.”

But Jarratt is under no illusion that despite the distance training, work will be required in order to make her fighters ready for a return to the ring.

“A few have boxing bags at home, but throughout lockdown I kept telling them to be careful because defence is just as important as attack,” said Jarratt.

“Boxing bags are great to hit and great for general fitness, but with no-one hitting you back, it is very easy to let your hands drop.

“A lot of our boxers have been sharing their home videos and from a coaching perspective, you pick up on things.

“So many people think boxing is an easy thing to learn. But there are so many elements and technical things to the sport, that it takes years to learn and acquire a skill.

“How many months have we been in this situation now? It’s only normal that bad habits can start to creep in. There will be lots of work to do when we are back up and running.”

Although a date is yet to be decided on when indoor sporting facilities will become open again, Jarratt and Telford ABC have wasted no time in preparing for that eventuality.

Jarratt is working to ensure the gym ticks all the boxes ready for its reopening and the coach eyes the restart as an opportunity to welcome new faces to the club.

“Everyone is really excited and we can’t wait to get back at it,” she said.

“Lockdown has clearly given people time to reflect and think.

“We have had a lot of enquiries and messages from people saying how it’s a sport they have always wanted to try.

“It’s great to hear and we anticipate that we are going to be quite busy. All the equipment has been wiped down, everything will be deep cleaned.

“We have nine or 10 bags which are two metres apart. The ring can comfortably fit another six people in and we have plenty of fitness equipment for people to use.

“Then there are the mirrors that people can use to hone their technique, work on their shadow boxing.

“We are doing everything to ensure all measures are in place in order to make it a safe environment to come and train.”

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News