October 19, 2021 @ 4:27 PM

Great question.  And, an important one.  Read on.

There are several time elements to consider.  First is separating the time elements an assessment appointment might include compared to the actual assessment.  As an example, a new boxer intake assessment appointment might include welcome and introduction, Rock Steady program description and benefits, workout observations, the assessment, glove fitting and going over membership, media waiver, and, physician's release paperwork.  We don't make a deliberate point of noting when the assessment is started or finished.  It all kind of runs together.  For some coaches, a comprehensive intake appointment might take up to 2 hours!

Using PARS on a tablet, we have designed the app such that a coach can complete the assessment portion of an intake assessment in under 60 minutes and they can complete a fighter reassessment in under 45 minutes.

The PDQ-39 typically takes less than 5 minutes to fill out and 12 physical tests averaging 30 seconds each is 6 minutes.  That is 11 minutes.  So, why do assessments take so long?

Dealing specifically with the PARS 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.   

From the beginning, we were concerned that "more comprehensive" might translate into "more time".  So, the answer is... "when used as designed, PARS saves time!"  Sounds like a TV disclaimer for a pharmaceutical ad.  I hate those.  The following notes are coaching, not preaching.  They are from our experience and your experience may vary.  My lawyers made me write that.  Even though PARS is significantly more comprehensive, it is streamlined and intuitive.  You do much more for your boxers in about the same time.  And with a Boxer Assessment Report, they see the results of their time with you immediately.  The BAR doesn't even exist in a paper world.  If you calculated everything the app provides using Excel, it would add hours to your assessments!  

Recently, I did a full reassessment in in 43 minutes.  The details.  She has been boxing with me for 3 years so she knew what to expect in an assessment.  She is 83 years old, alert, a Level 3 and relatively healthy.  The general information, meds, health and heart sections took 4 minutes to check for changes, PD symptoms took 5 minutes, the PDQ-39 took 5 minutes, and the physical assessment took 16 minutes.  The boxer observations took 2 minutes, taking Postural photos took 6 minutes and a review of her Boxer Assessment Report took 4 minutes.  42 minutes.

Another recent reassessment took just over an hour.  A Level 3 with signs of early Dementia and a wife who likes to talk.  I still maintain that the tablet and app let me keep things focused and moving... that a paper-based assessment would have taken even longer ending with less information for the boxer or the coach and no Boxer Assessment Report.

I always take as much time as it requires to give the boxer a meaningful assessment experience, however, like my neurologist and even my physical therapist, I need to manage my time efficiently as well.

Keys to managing your assessments.

  • 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.   

The goal of the PARS is not to save time.  Yet, in the name of being comprehensive an assessment can't take all day.  We left a ton of stuff out of the app for no reason other than it would extend the time to do an assessment beyond the interest of the coach and patience of the boxer.  Future enhancements to the app will be evaluated on a time/value basis and possibly trade-offs will be required. 

Please let us know your experience in this area.