World Mental Health Day 2018: Katie Ludlam, GB Boxing Performance Psychologist shares her thoughts on the role of sport in building essential life skills

World Mental Health Day 2018: Katie Ludlam, GB Boxing Performance Psychologist shares her thoughts on the role of sport in building essential life skills

Sadie White No Comment

Here Katie Ludlam, Performance Psychologist at GB Boxing spends ten minutes talking about how sport can play an important role in building essential life skills.

How do you think getting involved in boxing or sport could benefit a young person struggling with emotional health issues for example, confidence, low mood or anxiety?

‘Being involved in boxing can facilitate an environment where you are on a journey with like-minded people and are judged for the things you can typically control for example commitment, hard work, and a willingness to try. Boxing – and sport in general – can change and will continue to change people’s lives.  I believe sport has the potential to teach us how to overcome setbacks, build relationships with others, enhance self belief and give us purpose/ something to strive for.’

Can you recommend any techniques for building resilience, self-esteem and confidence?

‘Learning from our experiences and committing to what is going to make a positive difference for us. What do you value or want to achieve? Identify what is getting in the way and the things you are doing that take you away from your values/goals. What behaviours could we commit to that will be a positive move towards our values/goals?’

‘Ensuring that you prioritise time to consider and build on the positive things of your day, your life, or the things you are trying to achieve is so important. How often do we ask ourselves what is going well/ what have I achieved today/ what is working for me?’

‘I believe that everyone has unique qualities and capabilities (super-strengths!) that if identified and maximised can strengthen our belief, self-determination, and performance in whatever it is we are doing.’

How important is resilience, self-esteem and confidence to the mentality of a Boxer?

‘I think these things naturally fluctuate depending on recent experiences and what someone has going on in their lives. That said, we don’t get through life without experiencing setbacks and these can be great for our development – being able to pick yourself up off the canvas and dust yourself off (both literally and metaphorically) is difficult but as they say (whoever they are!), it sure does make us stronger if we commit to learning from it.’

‘Belief in yourself and your ability to succeed in what you are doing is important, but there is an assumption that the best boxers don’t experience doubt – for me confidence isn’t the absence of self-doubt, we all have doubts, it is our ability to accept doubts, not judge ourselves about them, and continue/succeed despite the doubts we have.’

GB Boxing, based at the English Institute of Sport, prepares and trains the boxers that compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games and chose Sheffield Futures as its charity partner. The three year partnership will focus on the use of boxing as a tool to bolster Sheffield Futures’ community involvement work and to inspire Sheffield’s young people to achieve wider personal development through sport.

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.