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UK Coaching Team
Young people

Man on a Mission: Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Crime

Voices of Incredible People series: Marcellus Baz BEM, Founder and Managing Director of Switch Up and the Nottingham School of Boxing

Six ‘Voices of Incredible People’ (VIPs) were invited to share their inspirational coaching stories to a group of partners, leaders, coaches and participants at an event hosted by UK Coaching and Sport England to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the Coaching Plan for England

While their individual motivations for starting out in coaching are as diverse as their backgrounds, there was a common theme running through the compelling collection of personal journeys: the transformational power of coaching.

We believe it is incumbent on the industry to spread empowering stories like the ones told by our six VIPs, as not only are they Incredible People but also Very Influential People, who can raise awareness of the importance of coaching through the emotional impact generated by their experiences.

Marcellus Baz, born and raised in an underprivileged area of Nottingham, has faced many challenges. Despite his tough upbringing and criminal past, Marcellus has defied all the odds and turned his life around. 

From being in criminal gangs, being involved in a serious knife attack that ruined his prospects as a professional boxer and suffering from depression, he has created two organisations: Switch Up and Nottingham School of Boxing to help others not make the same mistakes and to lead them on the correct path.

Switch up and Nottingham School of Boxing use a combination of physical activity mentorship, counselling and education to support young vulnerable people with complex issues who may be at risk or in a life of crime to break that cycle by supporting them into education, training and employment.

His efforts and achievement in this field have been noticed by many people both locally and in wider regions. Rather than simply acknowledging these achievements – including a BBC Unsung Hero Award and being named 2017 UK Coaching Community Coach of the Year – Marcellus has used the platform this increased visibility has given him to promote transformation of young people using the power of sport.

He now splits his time between his two organisations and being a strong advocate for the rehabilitation of young offenders both locally and nationally.

This dedication and belief in building a better future for his young charges has led to Baz being recognised with a British Empire Medal. Alongside his work with Switch Up and the Nottingham School of Boxing, Baz is a renowned motivational speaker and advisor to the Home Office on knife crime prevention strategies and is a UK Coaching Ambassador.

We asked Marcellus what success would look like to him from a coaching perspective?

Success would be a reduction in knife and gang-related crimes and an improvement in the general perception and stigma related to mental illness. Plus, an understanding of the issues that young people face and the reasons why many see no choice but to commit criminal activity.

“To see more young people participate in sport with a high level of coaching, giving young people from areas of deprivation the best chances of being successful sportsmen and women.

“For the young people that Switch Up and Nottingham School of Boxing supports, success would be a secure stream of funding and improved support from councils, the government, and large local corporations that benefit from the organisation’s work to up-skill and place its students into jobs.

“I've seen people like me who were lost and thought that they were stuck in this bubble where you've got a criminal record, so you can’t get a job.

You try to get a job, you can't get a job so you go back into crime again, this vicious circle. So I thought, you know what, I want to break this.”

You can read more about Marcellus’ journey on our UK Coaching Ambassador’s page.

Voices of Incredible People

Read the coaching stories of the other five VIPs who spoke at the Coaching Plan for England and Diversity Event

Six of the best

Related Resources

  • Coaching Key to Helping Young People Make Better Choices

  • Education and Empowerment: Changing Lives on the Inside

  • Exploring Coaching’s Crucial Role in Cutting Crime


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