Alex Bakker-Noguer

Performance Analyst

Alex standing in front of a boxing ring

After changing degrees from Product Design Engineering to Sport and Exercise Science, Alex stepped out his comfort zone and began exploring all the different opportunities through the Coach & Volunteer Academy. After initially getting involved in swimming and athletics coaching, Alex's determination and initiative led him to a variety of Performance Analyst roles with Rugby and the Boxing Centre of Excellence!

Tell us a little about yourself (E.g. hobbies, interests and background):

I was born and raised in Reading, but with a Spanish mum and Dutch dad I was fortunate enough to often travel to Spain and Holland in the school holidays to see family. This led to me picking up quite a lot of Spanish and one could say I’m pretty much bilingual.

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I can say without a doubt that I enjoyed myself the most when playing sports. At school I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to play all types of sports. My main sport was swimming, but I was also heavily involved in cross country and athletics.

In terms of my hobbies and interests, I’m a huge Liverpool FC fan and a big football fan in general. I’ve always loved watching the Olympics and I can remember watching Michael Phelps at Beijing 2008 and being in awe. I enjoy going to the gym with mates, cooking and coffee drinking. I also love travelling and going for long walks in the countryside.

How did you first get involved in volunteering/ placement within sport at Loughborough?

After changing degrees, from Product Design Engineering to Sport and Exercise Science, I discovered the CVA.

In my first SES year, I first got involved in volunteering by signing up to the discounted level 1 and 2 swimming teaching qualification. This involved assisting on weekends at the pool. Later in the year, I managed to get involved in the swimming performance programme as a swimming performance analyst. To secure this I simply expressed my interest in getting involved in swimming after sitting in an introductory lecture on performance analysis. 

During your years at Loughborough what did you get involved in through volunteering within sport?

Alex and a group of boxers
In my first SES year, I volunteered as a swimming teacher assistant and as a swimming performance analyst.

In my second year, I continued volunteering with the swimming performance programme and in the summer term, I volunteered as an assistant athletics sprints coach.

Currently, I’m in my final year and I’m volunteering as a performance analyst with the men’s rugby union team and the boxing centre of excellence.

On reflection, despite COVID, I was very fortunate to have been able to volunteer remotely with the swimming team. I also experienced the power that a network can have as it helped me secure a volunteer role with the new boxing centre of excellence which was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down.

What was your experience volunteering/ on placement like?

filming a match
My experience so far has been invaluable. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed keeping myself busy throughout my studies and despite the pandemic. Through my volunteering, I’ve been given a taste of what it’s like to work in elite sport, which has helped me reflect on my career aspirations. Meeting like-minded sports enthusiasts has been a huge plus as well.

How has being involved with Loughborough Sport helped you develop and progress (personally and professionally)?

Personally, I have learned a lot about myself. In each opportunity, I was stepping out of my comfort zone which wasn’t easy at times, but it has been hugely rewarding as well. In doing so it has also helped me improve my confidence.

Professionally, my volunteering has helped me develop many skills that I wouldn’t have been able to in my studies alone. For example, I have been able to learn and become proficient in Hudl Sportscode which is a world-leading sports performance analysis software. I have also been able to develop my soft skills such as communication, organisation and teamwork. For me, these are the most valuable skills as they are transferrable to all professions and aspects of daily life. I have also been able to start building a network at the world’s best sporting university.

What’s the best advice you could give to a Loughborough student looking to get involved in volunteering and gain the most out of their university experiences?

Alex holding a certificate
I’d say that whatever degree you’re doing you should have a go and get stuck into some volunteering with the CVA. There are so many opportunities in different capacities that pop up throughout the year that there is something for everyone to benefit and learn from. If you do a sport-related degree, I believe it’s essential to have volunteered in sport and what better place to do it then at Loughborough! Use the limited time you have at university to explore something new and to meet interesting and like-minded people.

Finally, what do you enjoy most about volunteering?

Personally, I have hugely enjoyed being an insider to elite sport as it’s a world that has always amazed me. In addition, the joy I experienced when my network opened doors that I didn’t even know existed was unrivaled. Lastly, and this is not uncommon at all at Loughborough, in my volunteering I have had the huge honour of meeting Olympic and Paralympic medallists!

Feeling inspired?

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