Psychology helps English Boxing Success : EIS

9th May 2006

Positive psychology is crucial for boxers to achieve international success.

As part of the Team England boxing squad’s preparation for the Commonwealth Games, they worked with English Institute of Sport Psychologist Roberto Forzoni on their psychological preparation. With England’s boxers being incredibly successful out in Melbourne, asked Roberto Forzoni what he had done with the boxing squad and just how it will have helped them at the Games…What did you do with the England boxing squad?

This was the first time I had worked with boxers, so the first challenge was to gather as much information and learn as much about the sport in as short a time as possible. I was particularly interested in the culture and demands of boxing and took my first blow when I was told they had had a poor experience with psychology in the past!

Initially, speaking with the Performance Director, Terry Edwards, and with Dr Loosemore gave me a fantastic insight into the sport. I attended the pre-commonwealth training camps and immersed myself into helping out and generally ‘hanging around had successfully used motivational videos on a number of occasions with other squads and knew the impact could be quite inspiring, so I began filming sessions and taking photographs to make some motivational posters. The first video was watched by 16 boxers and staff, all sitting in the ring!

The results of all of this were that some good rapport and trust were developed. Also, by attending early morning (7 am) sessions and late night sparring (8 pm), I felt I quickly became a team member, and my work began to have some impact.

Over a six-week period, working closely with the PD and coaches, we developed a DVD resource which included four motivational videos along with boxer and staff profiles.

What was the aim of the work with England Boxing?

Motivational DVDs can be a huge confidence builder for any athlete. Confidence comes from a number of sources, and in particular previous performance accomplishments. Other sources include verbal persuasion, vicarious experiences and emotional arousal.