The World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) is led by Rob McCracken who oversees a team of seven full-time coaches, up to 20 part-time coaches and a range of performance staff who are responsible for specific areas of expertise such as nutrition, coach education and development and identifying, recruiting and developing new talent.
This group is supported by a large group of sport science and medical practitioners from the English Institute of Sport (EIS) that are contracted to work with GB Boxing. These include Doctors and practitioners in a range of specialities including Physiotherapy, Physiology, Strength & Conditioning, Performance Psychology, Performance Analysis and Performance Lifestyle.
Here we take the chance to get to know some of the faces behind GB Boxing’s success, starting with Senior Performance Analyst, Chris Connelly.
How long have you been with GB Boxing?
I have been with GB Boxing for 7 years working day-to-day with the boxers and coaches in the gym and supporting the team at competitions and major events, such as Rio 2016 and a number of world and European Championships. I will also be part of the team at Tokyo 2021.
Previously I worked I carried out work for The Premier League, Stoke City Football Club, GB Handball and UK Goalball.
What are the key aspects of your role?
The main aspect of my role is to analyse performance to find the details that could give us a competitive advantage.
I use state-of-the-art technology to record and capture training and competition footage, before analysing the data to find information that could impact positively on performance and improve the coaching process. It’s all about trying to give our boxers an edge and ensuring they are ready and prepared to beat any opponent they come up against.
Which element of your job do you enjoy the most?
I love being involved in the coach and athlete interaction and helping them not only create game plans to beat world class opponents but also in analysing our boxers to enable them to improve and be the best they can be.
I also just love being around world class coaches, athletes and support staff who will stop at nothing to make us the best in the world.
What has been your most enjoyable experience of working with GB Boxing?
My most enjoyable experience was travelling as part of the team to the Rio Olympics and helping support the athletes and coaches in winning three medals.
From a purely personal point of view, seeing Joshua Buatsi defeat Elshod Rasulov of Uzbekistan at Rio 2016 was special. On paper Joshua was not expected to beat him but he carried out the game plan to perfection and went on to become an Olympic medallist.
What is the best thing about working at GB Boxing?
The best thing about GB Boxing is the team. The relationship in the team with the boxers is fantastic. All the staff and coaches who work directly with the boxers day in day out make it a great place that puts the interests of the boxers’ at its heart. I am privileged to be a part of that team.
Describe GB Boxing in three words.
Pride. Passion. Performance.
Lastly, how have you had to adapt your role during the lockdown restrictions?
During Lockdown we have obviously had no face to face time with the rest of the team. However, we regularly have team meetings online and still stay on top of the individual boxers’ needs.
From an analysis point of view, we have been able to analyse all upcoming boxers for the London qualifier when it gets rescheduled and work alongside the coaches to make sure the boxers are ready for when it comes around again.
We send videos every Monday to all individual boxers and coaches, to set the training for the week. This means we are focussing on different styles and tactics each week, keeping everyone’s mindset concentrated on performance and maintaining motivation.
It has also given us time to analyse boxing on a more global level looking at trends and working with the rest of the sports science team to stay at the forefront of Olympic boxing worldwide.