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024: Tim Harper from Saracens to Sub-Sahara, fiercely championing the underdog

Tim Harper elite rugby strength coach on how and why he turned his attentions to making a difference to disadvantaged areas of the world

This week Tim Harper from Harper Performance joins us to discuss moving out of elite performance support in the UK to create unique, locally driven solutions to performance problems in disadvantaged communities across the world. Tim and his social enterprise are on a mission to give sport back some of its purer spirit, to diversify thinking about preparation and performance and to fiercely champion the underdog.

3:08 – A short introduction to Tim Harper’s career pathway in professional sport and Harper Performance – a social enterprise aiming to provide performance support services to disadvantaged populations.
5:45 – Exploring the catalyst’s that led Tim to change his career focus, mindset and the desire to find a path that had real purpose and meaning.
10:30 – Sport as a microcosm of society. Not being happy with the values of sport and what it represents and wanting to challenge and change its platform for societal change.
12:00 – Tim’s experiences in professional rugby union in the UK and Africa as a practitioner led to a questioning of: is sport the be all and end all? Why isn’t it making more of a difference?
15:44 – Tim went back to the drawing board. Networking and educating himself on the origins of elite performance support, its systems and processes.
17:00 – The birthplace of HarperPerformance came from observing environments within the developing nations of Africa. Finding that performance support is missing in the developing world but the athletes and (some) facilities are in place.
19:00 – Africa has the capacity to produce good athletes consistently, however, doesn’t seem to have the capacity to take good athletes to great athletes.
20:19 – Taking solutions from the UK to Africa isn’t simple. Context is key. How do we take our knowledge and skill and deliver in a locally driven way?
21:50 – Sports development strands: mass participation and sports performance development. Exploring the risks and pitfalls of sustainability, systems and culture.
25:50 – Developing relationships with locals to develop long term sustainability. Ridding the ego to collaborate and find solutions.
27:00 – Innovation and diversity is a driving force for HP in response to a monopoly and uniformity in a small number of approaches. Finding new ways of improving performance.
29:09 – Instead of throwing new and more resource at performance issues, HP phase progress with what resource developing nations currently hold in order to sustain it long term.
31:23 – In response to food availability and eating times, sports nutrition has been a huge area for development and scope in Africa.
35:30 – The evolution of Harper Performance since its inception. Now operating in a more focused and impactful manner on The KANJU Project in Africa.
41:06 – The dream outcome for HP is to develop capacity, sustainability and to evidence a positive outcome. Ultimately, coming back to see these environments in the future and learning from them to take lessons back to the UK.
42:50 – Vision for HP is to enable sport to live up to its ideals a little better or to become a little fairer because of what they have achieved.
45:22 – Sport is one of the few things that can offer hope to society and in some societies with little hope, sport doesn’t exist.

To follow Tim and Steve on Twitter:
@HarperPerform @TheTimpanzee
@ingham_steve @support_champs

Hear Tim at the Supporting Champions Conference 2019:
www.supportingchampions.co.uk/the-conference

Contribute to the Kanju campaign on Harper Performance:
https://www.harperperformance.co.uk

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