Great question. And, an important one. Read on.
There are several time elements to consider in assessing your boxers. As an example, a new boxer intake appointment might include welcome and introduction, Rock Steady program description and benefits, workout observation, the assessment, glove fitting and going over membership, media waiver, and physician's release paperwork. In most cases, you don't make a deliberate point of noting when the assessment is started or finished. It all kind of runs together. We have heard reports of some comprehensive intake appointments taking up to 1.5 hours! And more. Appointments... not assessments.
PARS was designed with the goal that a certified assessment administrator, a CAA, can complete the assessment portion of an intake appointment for a Level 1 or 2 boxer in under 30 minutes and they can complete a fighter reassessment in under 24 minutes.
Dealing specifically with the PARS FaST assessment, there are distinct time considerations. 1) The app is more comprehensive which could make assessments take more time. However, automating the process should save time. 2) The coach. Familiarity and comfort with PARS and their personal style affect how long an assessment takes; 3) The boxer. The boxer's PD Level, their personality (social/chatty) and their cognitive state; And, 4 ) The boxer's partner. How involved they want to be in the assessment and are they a help or a hinderance.
Recently, a PARS coordinator for one of our clients did a complete intake assessment in 37 minutes. The same day, she did a reassessment in 22 minutes. She can do 3 reassessments during a 1.5 hour workout! I always take as much time as it requires to give the boxer a meaningful assessment experience, however, like my neurologist and my physical therapist, I need to manage my time efficiently as well.
But, what if as the affiliate and head coach, you could cut your time dealing with assessments to under 5 minutes... intake assessment or reassessment? In Covington, WA, Linda, the affiliate and head coach, doesn't do assessments. She has 2 certified assessment administrators, CAAs, who do assessments. Both volunteers. So, when they spend 24 minutes with a boxer doing a reassessment, the CAA gets together with the head coach who spends 30 seconds reviewing the progression analysis insights & trends and then the CAA takes 3 to 5 minutes briefing the head coach when convenient. In under 5 minutes, Linda has more information about the boxer than if she had done the assessment herself in the "old days", before PARS. Read PARS In Action - Covington, WA.
Keys to managing your assessments efficiently:
- Separate your meeting with a new boxer into defined segments: Rock Steady Introduction and questions, Assessment, paperwork. If a question about cost comes up during the assessment, defer it till later. If you entertain questions and stories during the assessment period, you can never tell how long the assessment really took.
- Greet your boxer (and partner/family) a few minutes early to make small talk. If this is a first meeting for a new boxer intake assessment, there are lots of questions and information to share. Complete the selling/explaining time before you begin the assessment so the assessment can move step-by-step without lots of interruptions.
- Have a dedicated assessment area of your gym with all your assessment tools, tape on the floor, a chair, etc. When boxers enter this area it is like going into a doctor's exam room. The coach is in charge.
- When it is time to start the assessment, have a take-charge statement like "OK, let's get down to work. Come with me. I'm pulling up your Boxer profile now. I see you started with us in ___ of ___ and your last assessment was ___ of ___. Let's begin by confirming your general information starting with your birthdate."
- Find a comfortable pace for the assessment based on their PD level and cognitive state. Don't push them too fast, however, keep them moving forward. The coach is in charge.
- Resist talking about each physical test and how the boxer did as you go. There is a physical test summary at the end where you can show the boxer and their partner how they did including their total physical assessment score.
- If they ask an unrelated question or start rambling during the assessment, look down at the tablet and say something like "I'll address that in a few minutes. Let's keep moving. What is..." Asking a question or giving the next instruction refocuses them on the assessment.
- There are several consultative stops during the assessment such as the PDQ Summary and the Physical Assessment Summary. I stand next to them or kneel next to them and when I am done with the explanation, I move away taking control again.
- You can't run an assessment by the clock. Every boxer is unique and important. Sense the difference between being too rigid or rushing a boxer through the assessment and allowing the process to be so freeform that no one is in control. You are in control so stay in control.
- As a coach, your time is important and you deserve to have your time respected. Manage your time efficiently, professionally, and your boxers will appreciate you even more.
We have a new PARS FaST coordinator in Covington. Now that she has 20+ assessments under her belt, she controls them very tightly and keeps them on track. She easily does 2 reassessments during a 1.5 hour workout period. In Puyallup where we have a solo coach and no PARS trained volunteers, our coach has to schedule assessments after class. It is important to him that they are quick, complete and an exceptional experience for the fighter.
Please let us know your experience in this area.