A sports researcher who worked with a British Paralympic squad to improve their performance is graduating from the University of Worcester.
John Francis travelled the world with the British Wheelchair Basketball team as part of his PhD in Performance Analysis of Wheelchair Basketball. Now he is continuing in his ambition to help people in a variety of disability sports make the most of their talent.
“I feel very proud to be graduating, celebrating the end of one journey and the beginning of the next stage in my life,” said the 28-year-old, of Worcester.
John began a PhD studentship co-funded by the University of Worcester and British Wheelchair Basketball exploring the role of performance analysis and the analyst in wheelchair basketball in 2014. His task was to support the British Wheelchair Basketball teams during the build-up to the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and identify key factors for success to enable them to meet their medal targets.
In his four years with the squad, John travelled to more than 10 countries, including Dubai, South Korea, Canada and America, aiding them at two World Championships, one European Championships as well as the Paralympics.
Following this, John transferred his expertise into other disability sports, most notably as the analyst for the England Para-Football’s blind and deaf squads. He has also shared his research findings with other leading experts in the field of performance analysis and disability sport at both national and international conferences.
He said: “The support and guidance that I have received has been exceptional. The facilities and resources across the University were leading in the field, resulting in me being able to have the largest impact possible to the teams that I worked with.”
John now works as a lecturer at the University, leading the Masters in Applied Sports Performance Analysis course. In addition, he is looking to continue his research on performance analysis in disability sports, and most recently supported the England Blind Football team at the 2019 European Championships.
He said: “I am now in a role that I am extremely passionate about, encouraging and educating others to follow their dreams and aid teams, players and coaches to pursue their objectives.”