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, this time we meet Senior Performance Psychologist, Katie Ludlam.
How long have you been with GB Boxing?
I started working with GB Boxing in 2013, supporting the athletes in the build up to and at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Since Rio I have continued to work with our podium athletes, supporting them throughout the Tokyo cycle.
What are the key aspects of your role?
As a performance psychologist, my job is to prepare people to perform to the best of their ability, when it matters most. This involves working alongside coaches and support staff to enhance athletes’ method (ie. strategies and super-strengths), mindset (ie. emotional control, performing under pressure), and momentum (ie. consistent learning and progression). I also work with the wider team to ensure we are maintaining a culture/environment, in line with our programme values, that both supports and challenges people to perform to the best of their ability.
In my other roles, I work as a consultant psychologist with Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and as a Technical Lead for the EIS, supervising other psychologists working in the elite sport system.
Which element of your job do you enjoy the most?
I love my job and feel very privileged to do something I enjoy – I think that is because of the team. The boxers and staff make for a smashing team, and one I am very proud to be a part of.
I also love seeing people do well – it’s very inspiring to see people graft every day, and to be surrounded by people who are up there with the best in the world at the what they do.
What has been your most enjoyable experience of working with GB Boxing?
2016 was a special year for me with the qualifiers in Turkey and Azerbaijan, the Women’s Worlds in Kazakhstan, and then the Rio Olympic Games. I watched people deliver great performances when it mattered most, and it was incredible.
Even though the results weren’t always on our side, I was so proud of the team’s performances and what they achieved – for some it was life changing and I feel privileged to have watched that unfold. Plus, we had a great time while getting the job done!
What is the best thing about working at GB Boxing?
The people. Being surrounded by great people giving their all to do great things makes it a very special place.
Describe GB Boxing in three words.
GIVING OUR ALL
Lastly, how have you had to adapt your role during the lockdown restrictions?
Lockdown has been challenging for all of us, and I am really proud of how the team has adapted, given the circumstances. Luckily a lot of what we do as psychologists doesn’t necessarily require being face-to-face (even if it’s preferred!) so we have continued to support the team remotely via phone or video calls.
The focus of work has changed since lockdown as we were midway through an Olympic qualifier, so the priority then was optimising our method and mindset for performing under pressure. During these recent times it has been important to focus on adapting, maximising coping skills, finding positivity in the adversity, and maintaining motivation.
I think it has really helped us to focus our attention as a team on what we can do, gain, and achieve in this time, rather than focusing on what we can’t do.