When a lot of people look at boxing, they just see violence. For those that know the sport, they see that it’s much more than that. It can be a wonderful way to build a level of confidence and discipline that you don’t get from other sports.
It’s helped to guide countless children and young adults away from a more troubled life and helped to give many kids, teenagers and adults alike, a great outlet for stress and frustration. Its benefits are clear with many links to producing less anti social behavior outside the ring.
It would be remiss to never mention the dangers that come with the sport. Far too often, there is much misinformation about the scale of those risks with little regard to the benefits which almost always far outweigh them. Boxing in schools is not the same as two professionals going toe-to-toe in the ring.
Many other sports carry risks but don’t have the same scrutiny as the sweet science. Here we look at the pros and cons to see whether boxing is a good idea, especially for kids. Let’s step into the hypothetical ring and see which argument comes out on top!
Benefits of Boxing for Kids
It’s Great Exercise, Progressive & Fun
For those that have ever tried boxing, they’ll know just how physically demanding it is. It’s a brilliant form of exercise and that’s been seen with the rise of ‘boxercise’ which is a high-intensity regime without the contact element of boxing.
Just using a punching motion will tire you out quickly and increase fitness levels. If your child plays another sport outside of school, this can have a great benefit for that too. Boxing requires extreme levels of fitness and children will only profit from that. It’s also progressive, meaning the more you practice the better you get and this can show kids the value fo hard work and dedication.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of boxing is the increased discipline it can give. This is down to a couple of reasons. As we mentioned there, the level of fitness required in boxing means that to excel you need to control the rest of your environment which means that boxers eat, drink and sleep better than in other sports.
Also in boxing, the threat of being punched in the face gives you a much higher level of concentration and focus. It gives any boxer a drive to perfect their technique as you don’t want to make mistakes in boxing.
Teaches Respect For Oneself And Others
It always seems as though the more combative the sport, the more respect there is between opponents. Rugby is well known for its code of respect and the same can be said for boxing. Sharing a ring with an opponent is a unique feeling and one you never forget.
It requires courage, heart and dedication. Those qualities are universally respected and this can help to resolve issues outside the ring. In boxing, you have to respect your opponent and that can be a great learning curve for other areas of their life.
Vital Self Defense Skills, Especially For Girls
Everyone wants their children to be safe and sometimes it can be a scary world out there. Boxing gives children tools that they can use in any of those types of situations that you don’t even want to think about.
Being able to defend yourself, punch properly and avoid danger can all be hugely helpful. This can help to reduce bullying for everyone, enable girls to be more confident and allow parents to have greater peace of mind for their safety.
Kids Can Find Their Passion and a Hobby for Life
A lot of kids can miss out on opportunities to find a hobby that they love. While the likes of football and rugby are almost always played in schools, other sports are left behind which can be a huge shame.
The benefits of finding a hobby you love are clear. You have those physical benefits but also it can make them happier and give them more focus in life. Providing more opportunities in schools is always a good thing.
Provides an Outlet for Depression & Frustration
Life can be difficult at times for children and school can bring on a lot of frustrations. Boxing can provide a brilliant outlet for frustrations. Being able to get rid of that stress with a few controlled punches can let off that steam which would otherwise be channeled elsewhere.
It can lead children away from getting in trouble as those frustrations could instead be put into petty crime or fights away from the boxing ring that can be a lot more dangerous. Boxing instead gives them a safe space and puts children in a better headspace.
Gets Kids Off Their Phones
Many parents will complain about their children being on their phones all the time but they do very little about it. Boxing gives children a chance to get out there and enjoy something they love doing, away from their screens.
Being in that social environment also allow them to develop friendships and improve their mental health. It will let them to connect with people in a different environment while having all the benefits we’ve looked at already.
Reduces Obesity and Health Problems
Obesity is a growing problem with children and it can be difficult to change their lifestyle. With boxing being such a physically demanding sport, it can increase the calories that they burn in a day quite dramatically.
That will then reduce the risks associated with obesity such as heart issues and diabetes, among many others. Other sports can be much more sedentary whereas boxing is a more full-on sport and quite demanding.
Can Allow Kids To Settle/Avoid Disputes With Sparring & Healthy Competition
Problems between children can manifest and spread through a school. This can fester and lead to problems including fist fights which will always happen. Allowing children to settle disputes or relieve tension in a boxing ring instead can be a much better idea due to how safe the environment will be.
Due to the lack of power children have, large gloves and head guards, the risks are minimal. Fights happen at school often and it’s a much better idea to get any angst out in a ring than kids fighting with their fists in the playground or outside of school.
Keeps Children Out Of Trouble, Violence and Gangs
Many boxers have credited boxing with turning their life around and giving them a focus in life. Anthony Joshua is such an example as he was in a gang and was placed on remand in prison for two weeks before he turned to boxing. This great interview shows the positive impact that boxing had on his life.
Teaching boxing in schools can help to turn children’s energy into something more positive before they ever get into a gang. Giving them that outlet with the dedication required can make their life a lot safer than it’d otherwise be.
Can Provide A Career in Boxing, Journalism or Online
Just because children develop an interesting in boxing it doesn’t mean that they’re going to become a professional. Finding love for a sport can lead them to use that passion in different ways rather than just being in a ring and in this digital ways, there a tons of ways to find a career whether it be youtube or running a print on demand store.
There is always the chance of not just being a professional boxer but also becoming a trainer, a journalist or a broadcaster which are just a few of the roles that are available. Boxing can give them an achievable aim that they otherwise wouldn’t have.
The world of boxing comes with plenty of ups and downs. You’ll make mistakes and have to learn from them quickly. This could be taking a loss, messing up your technique for forgetting some of the fundamentals of boxing.
This all helps to develop character and allows children to build up resilience when they have downs in other areas of their life. This can lead to a lot more stability and allow them to cope with other challenges a lot easier.
In team sports, kids are often picked last, not played with and can be left without any coaching. The individual aspect of boxing gives every child the same chance where they can improve and work at their own pace.
The inclusive aspect of boxing is better for their mental health and will increase confidence. It forces positive interaction without having those negatives associated with other sports. It all adds up to happier children.
Cons of Boxing for Kids
May Facilitate Bullying
There’s an argument to be made that boxing may facilitate bullying. It could give more aggressive children the chance to hit others which may be weaker. While that could be possible, the environment is closely controlled by a teacher or trainer.
If this was seen to be happening or there was an unfair contest then it could be stopped. With the respect of discipline that boxing teaches, it reduces the likelihood of this happening. It also gives a safe space for children who would otherwise be bullied to have a fair contest.
Not Everybody Would Be Interested
In any sport, you could have varying degrees of interest but there are ways to sort this. The sport as a whole could be optional or instead, you could have it that sparring between two children is optional with others simply learning craft and technique or practicing fitness and conditioning drills.
No children would need to be excluded but you’d find that a lot of children who may be apprehensive at first develop a love for the sport. The fighting element of boxing wouldn’t be forced on anyone. Also, there is light sparring when heavy shots aren’t permitted and everything is closely controlled.
Boxing Causes Concussions
When sparring, professional boxers use gloves that are often twice as heavy as their fighting gloves. In amateur boxing too, bigger gloves are used. This increased weight not only means more padding but it also reduces arm speed, and therefore less power.
Add in the fact that school-age children haven’t reached their peak level of strength and it all leads to a very safe environment. Concussion only becomes a more relevant issue in higher weight professional boxing.
It Will Cause Injury
Head guards can also be worn to prevent damage to the ears and cuts to areas such as the eyebrow. Together with those big gloves, it means a minimal amount of injuries and often sparring sessions will end with barely a red nose.
Compare that to football where leg injuries are very common. Basketball is well-known for dislocating fingers and the likes of hockey can lead to smashed teeth. When you look back and analyze it, boxing is one of the lowest risk sports for children.
It Promotes Violence
It’s a natural step to think that allowing children to be violent in the ring will lead to increased violence outside of it. What has been proven instead is that letting off that steam in the ring leads to calmness outside of it. As someone who is trained extensively, I always find that the people with no training are the least likely to cause trouble. For some reason, people with no training, seem to think they are very tough quite a lot.
As we mentioned, it’s a great outlet where disputes can be settled and stress can be washed away. Instead of promoting violence, boxing channels it into a safe environment where children are a lot safer.
Girls Are Excluded
Participation in boxing gyms may be higher for males but there is no reason for that to be the case. All the benefits that we have looked at above apply to all children. It could even be more beneficial for girls with the teaching of self-defense.
It can help to develop greater respect between boys and girls. There is also an ever-increasing number of women boxers to provide inspiration such as Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields, women’s boxing has never been in a better position. There’s no reason why girls won’t love it as much as boys.
They’ll Practice It At Home
Basic boxing equipment isn’t expensive and if your child wants to practice further at home, this doesn’t mean bare-knuckle fighting in the street.
All they’ll need are some large gloves and a punching bag to be able to work on their fitness and technique.
Should boxing be taught in schools? We say yes. When you look into the arguments against it they don’t hold up to scrutiny. When you start to look into the benefits, you see just how special the sport can be for so many children.
If your child goes to a school that doesn’t have boxing then explain the benefits and lobby for it. If you don’t have any luck, then there are brilliant boxing clubs available. Boxing allows children to express themselves in a way that many other sports don’t. Having it in schools would make them happier, healthier and keep them out of trouble.