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 talent.
As part of this new written series we take a closer look into the key role our coaches have in not only overseeing the development of our talented group of athletes but how their part in the GB Boxing programme overall is so integral to the success it has achieved over the years.
So join us, as we get to know our incredible bunch of coaches, after getting to know Head of Podium Potential, Gary Alderson, last time out – we know speak to fellow World Class Performance Coach, Gary Hale.
How long have you been with GB Boxing?
I have worked for GB Boxing since 2008 firstly as a part time performance coach and full time since 2013.
What are the key aspects of your role?
The key aspects of my role within the coaching team are to work together with the support staff to plan an individual training programme for each boxer to help maximise their potential to be able to compete on the world stage.
Which element of your job do you enjoy the most?
Being able to see the realisation of hard work and dedication come to fruition.
What has been your most enjoyable experience/favourite moment of working with GB Boxing?
The Qualification event in Turkey & the Rio Olympic Games, being part of a coaching team at an Olympic Games is an honour and a privilege.
What is the best thing about working at GB Boxing?
Playing a small part in the boxers journey, experiencing the highs and lows of elite sport.
Describe GB Boxing in three words.
Ambitious, Hardworking, Grounded.
How did you had to adapt your role during the lockdown restrictions?
I think GB Boxing did really well during the lockdown period and embraced technology well. With the use of zoom training sessions and Team meetings it enabled us to be in contact with the athletes and support staff and still keep the team ethos.
What is your background in coaching? How did you get the role of coaching at GB Boxing?
I began coaching at the Hollington Boxing Club in 1996 and came through the ABA Coaching Structure and became an advanced coach in 2004. I began working as a part time performance coach for England and then when GB Boxing was formed that continued.
I was lucky enough to be picked by GB Boxing for the London 2012 Ambition Programme which gave coaches who had the potential to coach at the Rio Olympics the experience of the whole Olympic village and competition venues was a great insight for me and inspired me to be a part of the Rio Games.
Who is the best boxer you have worked with and why?
Joshua Buatsi for me. The main reasons are his level of improvement over an 18-month period, his drive, determination and his humbleness are an inspiration. He set the Rio Olympics on fire with his performances.
Also, Nicola Adams and Lauren Price are both supremely talented and driven and have achieved great things. Both are very inspiring athletes.
Is there a boxer you have worked with that has not quite fulfilled their potential or has sadly walked away from the sport too early?
It takes a special boxer to succeed at World and Olympic level, both mentally and physically. These types of boxers are prepared to put their life on hold to realise their dream and change their life. Some boxers may be super talented but lack the drive. Some boxers may have the drive but lack the talent.
So, the boxer who succeeds at GB Boxing has all the ingredients that are needed but they all share something in common. They are all given every possible chance to succeed.
How has training adapted since returning to camp? What have you personally had to do differently?
As coaches, our role has changed since lockdown, now we have to greet the boxers at reception and check their temperatures upon entry to our building. We follow government guidelines and wear PPE in the gym area and clean equipment after every use. We are also training in smaller groups resulting in more one on one training and boxer feedback has been very positive.