Helping others feel confident

After such a long break from ringing, some ringers might appear hesitant and even nervous about restarting ringing. They will be worrying about all sorts of things: have they still got the strength; will they miss the rope; will they look foolish and can they even remember what to do? Each will have their own concerns and as Tower Captain, it is your responsibility to help them overcome their anxieties.

Prior to attending service ringing or practice night, some may prefer to have a go at ringing one bell on their own. With permission for the incumbent, it may be possible to sound a bell at a special time, or you may have to silence a bell for them to practise. Try to be as flexible as possible, with the aim to have them ringing as part of the band as soon as they are ready.

Over the years, experienced tower captains will have learnt many techniques to help ringers feel more confident, but for those of us new to the role, here are a few ideas:

  • Welcome the person as soon as they enter the belfry. Use their name and make them feel welcome. Try to make them smile.
  • Ask them how they feel about returning and listen closely to what they have to say. Recognise their feelings of concern and reassure them you will be there to help. Explain you will be taking things at their pace.
  • When they do start to ring, remember the guidance on distancing and be supportive. Don’t hover but be close enough to help if required.
  • Congratulate them on their performance. If there are areas to address, remember the praise sandwich: mention one thing they did well; one thing they need to improve and finally more recognition or praise at the end.
  • Ensure they are included in any discussions in the belfry. If they are sitting on their own, speak to them and keep them included and involved.
  • Ask for their help. It might be watching someone else or taking on a role within the tower. Share things around.

Try to avoid getting frustrated with them, or others. If you are patient and measured, most will overcome their anxieties very quickly and return to being a valued member of the band.


Annie Hall, Coventry DG