In episode two of the ‘Ringside Report’ we take a look at the first year of the ‘Fit Mind’ boxing programme
In May, we spoke with both Boxing Coach Tristan Wesenhagen and Education Services Educational Psychologist Dr. Stephanie Edwards about the 12-week pilot programme designed for a group of John Gray High School students, emphasizing both emotional and physical skill development.
The programme offered two additional hours of physical activity with the Cayman Islands Boxing Association per week, with the third hour of group activity with Dr. Edwards.
Fast forward four months, Wesenhagen says improvements in its students were visible in this.
“We’ve seen some good increase in their behaviour in a very positive way. With all the stuff we did, with the mentorship and team building, I think we did a very good job.”
One of the unique aspects of the programme, was its emphasis on social development outside of the ring. An excursion to Cayman Music School that saw the kids learn how to Disc Jockey.
“It was fun to see how open they were to it. They all love music, they were surprised at first, but when we were in the studio, they kept going and loved it,” he said.
Wesenhagen says it was a fun initiative for a group of students that normally wouldn’t socialize based on their various house placements in John Gray High School.
“These kids didn’t know each other, so they still had to get to know each other. We wanted to reward them for their hard work, and that their hard work was appreciated.”
Wesenhagen adds he hopes the Fit Mind programme is the beginning of a boxing roll out into the entire physical education curriculum.
“Alongside the Fit Mind programmes, we want to roll out boxing to all schools, which is an ambitious objective to achieve. One of our boxers Blayze Wood can help us fill a specific goal such as this in the future. We are working with a number of people to help get boxing into schools. We are going to start coaching programmes so that we can really develop our grassroots. It will also help create a new talent pool to represent the Cayman Islands.”
Wood, 19, is a newly minted assistant coach for the boxing and fitness classes held at the Dalmain Ebanks Boxing Gym. After two amateur fights, Wesenhagen invited Wood to join the staff as a way of aligning his interests in fitness and boxing with his future goals.