Performance Staff

Performance Manager

  • Matt Paine
    Matt delivers our programme for Performance Athletes, Clubs and Coaches. After graduating from Southampton University with a degree in Sport and Business Matt has worked in a variety of roles supporting young people aged 16-24. Recently embarking upon a part-time Masters in Sport, Business and Leadership at Loughborough London, Matt wishes to further develop his knowledge around this ever-changing subject and use his knowledge to help shape the Performance programme at Bristol.

Head Coaches

  • Ali Blackett, Tennis
    LTA Level 4 Senior Performance Coach, Ali brings a wealth of experience of working with young people to her role as Head coach of University of Bristol Tennis (UBTC). Ali's drive and passion is to make Tennis at the University one of the leading clubs offering Tennis to all levels from social tennis to BUCS competitive players of a very high standard (LTA ranking 7.2 or higher).
  • Edward Bloomfield, Rowing
    Ed joined the University of Bristol Boat Club (UBBC) in 2015 as our Development Coach and progressed quickly to Head Coach. Having started coaching at St Edwards School Oxford, he swiftly took up a project with the women's squad. His work has brought the standard of Bristol Women's Rowing up to a new height, culminating in a record 4th place in the Championship 8+ at BUCS Regatta 2018. Ed is well placed to continue developing our club programme, aiming to develop talented individuals from all squads into robust and successful athletes who can compete nationally and internationally.
  • Joe Goodman, Rugby
    Former Professional Rugby Player turned Professional Coach (RFU level 3) Joe has a wealth of experience in coaching roles, as well as degrees from the University of Bath and UWE. Joe says, "As a creative and passionate coach, there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing our student athletes reach their potential as players and leaders, whilst making memories and having fun, within an enjoyable, dynamic and challenging player-centered learning environment."

Strength and Conditioning Coaches

  • Will Ruscombe-King, Lead Coach
    Having coached sports since the age of 16, Will found his interest in Strength and Conditioning whilst studying his undergraduate degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Will has a varied background working within football, field hockey and rugby, and is looking forward to helping the various performance clubs within the University. “Developing the Strength and Conditioning programme at the University is a massive opportunity to help our teams improve their performance.
  • Dr Will Sparkes, Acting Lead Coach (Paternity cover)
    Will joins the University with over 10 years of experience working in elite football. His previous roles have been with Swansea City AFC in the Premier League, LA Galaxy in the MLS, and at international youth level with the Welsh FA. Will holds a PhD, a masters, and undergraduate degrees in sports science/ strength and conditioning and has published numerous scientific studies in this area. He aims to bring his deep experience in professional sports to optimise the performance and health of various athletes and teams across the University.
  • Dan Newman
    Dan is an experienced strength and conditioning coach working with top level athletes and individuals at all fitness levels. Having been involved developing athlete’s physical qualities in an abundance of sports, Dan has previously worked within multiple Professional Sports Clubs, National Governing Bodies, and University and College sport teams. Holding MSc Strength and Conditioning, and BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science qualifications, he is also a BASES Supervised Sport and Exercise Scientist. Dan’s strong passion and experience in sport and exercise aspires to support the student athlete to reach their true potential and help develop the strength and conditioning programme at the university.

Performance Staff

  • Henry Abrahams, Sports Physiotherapy
    Physiotherapist (MSc) and a Personal Trainer (National Academy of Sports Medicine) with a BSc in Sports Science. Henry is passionate about health and fitness and the physiological and psychological benefits of regular exercise, movement and nutrition. As part of his role at the Sports Medicine Clinic, Henry works closely with the University of Bristol Performance Squad athletes and the Strength and Conditioning team.
  • Connor Grant, Sports Psychologist
    Connor is a BASES Supervised Sport Scientist (Psychology), Certified Mental Toughness Consultant and LTA Level 3 tennis coach. He has been fortunate to work with a wide range of sporting individuals and teams, from 'weekend warriors’ to Olympic gold medalists. His passion for both people and human performance has seen him ply his trade in Africa, Europe and Australasia. Now back in Bristol, he is adding value and insight to the University’s Performance Programme, Maroon scholars and BUCS Squads.
  • Tania Griffin, Sports Nutritionist
    Tania is a Sport and Exercise Nutritionist (MSc, SENR) who has supported athletes with their nutrition across a number of different sports. She has first- hand experience in understanding the busy schedule of the student athlete having previously been involved in university rowing coaching. Tania has a passion for nutrition education and helping athletes develop their nutrition knowledge and daily dietary habits to support their health, wellbeing and sports performance.

Coaches and Coordinators

  • Steve Gazzard, Women's Rugby Coordinator & Head Coach
    Steve brings a wealth of experience of coaching, playing, administering, and refereeing rugby with adults and juniors to his role as Women's Rugby Coordinator & Head Coach. He currently coaches at the university and in the Bristol Bears junior academy. Steve is driven by a desire to help rugby players become skillful, healthy, confident, and empowered team players.
  • Holly Stead, Development Coach/Lead Women’s Coach - Rowing
    Holly combines her MSc in Strength and Conditioning alongside a BSc in Nutrition into her role. She brings a broad expertise of developing athletes from juniors to U23’s at both beginner and international standard. Holly has worked in performance pathways including the GB World Class Start program and more recently is creating a link with British Rowing to improve the success of women in sport. From development through to elite, Holly’s passion and vision is to enable athletes to reach their full potential.
  • Tom Selby, Boat Coordinator
    MSc Coaching Science & Professional Development. Tom brings his experience of developing juniors and U23 athletes to the international stage. Tom's role is Boat Club Coordinator in which he is responsible for the Development Rowing Squad and working in partnership with British Rowing as GB START coach. Tom's passion comes from developing athletes from their first stroke to their first international stroke. UBBC Development Squad offer all levels of sport experience and offer all levels of motivation from recreational to performance.
  • Martin Hicks, Hockey Coordinator
    Martin joined Bristol in 2021. Martin brings over 10 years of coaching experience at varying levels and ages in club, county and England Hockey Performance Centre roles. Martin is currently undertaking the GB Hockey ‘Advanced Coach Programme’ alongside his part time role with Bristol and his 'other' professional career. Martin is a dedicated and enthusiastic coach, driven by a passion for developing people inside and outside of sport. Martin aims to support hockey at Bristol to take the next step forward at all levels.
  • Alan Tyers, Men's Football Coordinator
    Men's Football Coordinator with over 20 years of coaching in BUCS and has a level 3 coaching award from the FA. Alan has a wealth of experience of coaching and managing teams at varying levels and ages of football. He is passionate about developing University players and seeing them progress through the various levels within the university football club. He is keen to forge links with local teams in order to widen the experiences of the football cohort.
  • Chantelle Wopara, Netball Coordinator
    Netball Club Coordinator, Chantelle Wopara, brings over 13 years of experience coaching university netball. Chantelle has experience of playing at National and Super League Level and is currently Team Bath Superleague Assistant coach. Chantelle’s ambition and passion is to make sure netball at the university is available to all, from those who want to play socially all the way through to the elite.
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