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Think Boxing used to be a place where people could gather to break a sweat and de-stress while learning to box. With the studio doors now shut, co-founder and clinical director Beth Matenaer realized they would have to adjust their operations model to continue fighting for their business.
Following the example of other companies that have taken services online, Think Boxing launched virtual sessions, providing curriculum through a livestream to groups and individuals. They aim to provide customers with physical exercise while many are quarantined at home, as well as teach them how to manage stress and anxiety.
“Reducing stress is beneficial right now, so we’re hoping to be relevant in helping people take an hour for themselves or to connect with families to be able to participate together as just a change of pace because everyone’s cooped up,” Matenaer said.
Whereas in-person sessions would include practicing technique on a punching bag, Matenaer said virtual lessons are more movement-based and centered on the mental health aspect, although those with equipment at home are encouraged to use it.
During these sessions, coaches lead students through warmup, physical technique and exercises in breathing and mental wellness. Classes are taught through a live video call, giving coaches a chance to look at each student’s screen to correct technique and give feedback.
“We want people to box correctly and integrate it in a very healthy way,” Matenaer said. “Having a proper technique is an important way to do that, so the coaches take the time to look at each screen and to give instruction.”
Online sessions are offered to groups and individuals of all ages. Matenaer said community response was positive during their first week of virtual transition, where they offered classes for free to pique audience interest. Going forward, classes will be offered at a reduced price.
“We’ve had friends and family hop on together to work on mental health and regulation but also to have that community time to spend time with people,” Matenaer said. “There’s a connectedness element that we didn’t intend, but it’s providing people with the sport aspect, the mental health aspect and a chance for people to be together.”
Matenaer said Think Boxing has expanded past local borders as well, as people are inviting their family and friends from across the country to join them for a session. As the program grows, they hope to offer a greater variety of virtual options, including family sessions, Friday date nights for couples and a class more focused on meditation.
“We have a tendency to push and grow in these situations, and for a lot of businesses, this means they can expand and grow in a way that they wouldn’t have had before coming out the other end of this,” Matenaer said.s