In this process, the involvement of the broader context, the school, an institution, the family, and on a larger scale, society, is an absolute added value.
In our training, we already had guys whose parents also went to a rock and water training, and we discovered that they use this jargon at home, in the family context. With the rock and water terms, they learn to say “I feel that you are acting a little bit too Rock now” instead of “why are you so aggressive again?”. This is such a different way of getting your message through, different from judging behavior, because then you feel assaulted. But this ideal situation is still an exception. (Rock and Water trainer)
Involving the broader context in a psychophysical program is often out of control (or responsibility) of the organizing institute or organisation, and even more often, out of control of the trainer.
The problem is that the social structure is not within our responsibility. We really have very few control over the social context of our participants. At home, we know there are a lot of problems, and at the same time they go through this difficult period during adolescence, when they are told “to do something with their lives”, “to start thinking about what they want in life”. Also at school nothing really goes smoothly. And then you feel, you just feel it, if they don’t have a social safety net, they just lose every time again in [boxing] competitions. And this is not because they are not competent enough; it is really due to the social environment. Luckily, we do have a lot of contacts with other organizations, training institutes, people who guide them in finding a job, …. that we can call in. Or we refer them to these contacts. This is really part of our job, the social work part, this whole network around the box academy. (box trainer)
If that broader social context is not involved, or if there simply is not enough attention and understanding from that side, a lot of growth potential is lost.
Young people have so much to offer, they are up to much more than their environment tends to think. But often they are discussed so negatively in public media. We really would like to give them more time and space to grow, to develop their potential, but we don’t get this time nor the space. And in the end, it is the youth that are judged on this. I mean, it also took me a long time to grow in my work here, to develop my talents and qualities. That is not different with youth. They are too quickly judged upon things for which they simply need more time. We could achieve so much with these guys, and we do. But we also miss a lot, they miss chances just because they don’t get the space and time from the context. (Experiential learning trainer)
Ideally, an organization that has a psychophysical program for youth, is also socially engaged, in order to secure continuity in offer of programs and trainers. It is this continuity that is very important for the youth they aim at.
I feel that as an organization, you also have to have a vision on society. Being a sports club you are also part of that society. Far too often sport is considered as outside of society, and that society and social problems is not what keeps us busy, that is somehow the general opinion. But in fact it is not at all like that. Especially in our case, we work with vulnerable youth, in this kind of work the social aspect is so dominant, that you almost cannot not engage socially. (box trainer)