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 Performance Lifestyle Advisor, James Hooper.
How long have you been with GB Boxing?
I’ve been supporting our GB Boxing athletes since 2017, supporting them with their personal and educational development and also their Anti-Doping responsibilities.
Before GB Boxing, I was working at Liverpool Football College providing Lifestyle Support to the student athletes.
What are the key aspects of your role?
In my role as a Performance Lifestyle Advisor, the key aspects of my role are to support the personal development of each of our Boxers which can range from; public speaking, understanding how to set up their on businesses, understanding how to build their personal brand to more classic routes of education, college or university.
I also help them manage commitments outside of the ring to contribute to their holistic development and support their various transitions on-, through- and sometimes away from the elite program.
In my Anti-Doping role, the key aspects include managing the Anti-Doping Administration system (ADAMS), ensuring all staff coaches and boxers have received relevant education and are aware of their responsibilities when it comes to championing clean sport, and providing ad-hoc support to the athletes on supplement safety and best practice.
Which element of your job do you enjoy the most?
I feel incredibly lucky to perform in a role that I feel very passionate about and alongside that, being able to work in an environment like GB Boxing, it makes for an extremely enjoyable job. Working with and learning from, such a driven and dedicated team day in, day out, is a massive contributing factor which makes me love my job.
The opportunity for the Boxers to change their life through sport is an incredible thought, and to contribute to that in whatever way is the most enjoyable part of the job for me.
What has been your most enjoyable experience of working with GB Boxing?
Working with some of the athletes on a 1-to-1 level, and watching them develop not only as athletes, but as people too. It’s great when you see someone realise their potential both inside and outside the ring, and then continue to develop.
Supporting some of the athletes who have exited the program too, I’m fortunate to be able to work with those individuals on their next chapter in their life – that gives me a real sense of satisfaction helping them face that transition out of sport.
What is the best thing about working at GB Boxing?
The entire team – Boxers, coaches and staff. I feel very privileged to work alongside experts in their chosen field.
Describe GB Boxing in three words.
Teamwork. Fun. Hardworking.
Lastly, how have you had to adapt your role during the lockdown restrictions?
The lockdown has been a massive change for everyone, and we’ve all had to adapt in our own ways. Although, I’d prefer that face-to-face contact with the Boxers which is usually more effective and enjoyable, it’s been a relative simple change to support the athletes via phone calls, voice notes, video calls – it’s been a new way of working which I’ve learnt to take a lot from.
As a team our communication has been vital in ensuring we’re supporting the boxers, and each other, from our weekly meetings to flagging any concerns to the relevant staff member – we’ve really pulled together during this time which has been great to see.
The lockdown has given everyone a great opportunity to take stock and reflect on the things most important to themselves.
For me, it’s allowed me to consider why I do the role and the difference I want to make during my time at GB Boxing.
It’s also been a great opportunity for the Boxers to engage in some online learning – whether that be formal course, webinars, podcasts etc. It’s been great to showcase that education doesn’t necessarily always have to be sat in a classroom being lectured at!