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High Performance On and Off the Court at GB Basketball

In the world of elite sports, the business of success brings challenges, innovation, and untapped potential. In a recent conversation with ex-professional basketballer turned executive, Dan Clark, General Manager of Great Britain Men's National Basketball Team, Raj Thiruchelvarajah, CEO and Co-Founder of Hytro delved into the intricacies of what it takes to excel in the realm of basketball, the evolution of performance training, and how Hytro’s mission to enhance athletic performance is vital to the growth of GB basketball.

Dan Clark of GB Basketball with basketball crowd behind him

The highest levels of sport can be as much about business as they are about the game itself, with the last reported figures stating that the Premier League contributed over £ 7.6 billion to the UK economy in 2019/2020. Basketball may not be on the same playing field, but perhaps the NBA’s goal of making it the second most popular sport in the UK isn’t as ambitious as it sounds when 32% of young teens are picking up a basketball.  


At the forefront of this growing team sport is Dan Clark, former Great Britain Men’s Senior Team Captain and now General Manager of the Great Britain Men’s National Basketball Team. Dan’s role focuses on the day-to-day running of the team, which incorporates critical business responsibilities.  


Hytro CEO and Co-Founder, Raj Thiruchelvarajah, knows the intricacies of business well with a background in city banking and management consultancy, before turning his focus to advancing human health and performance through Blood Flow RestrictionJust as in business, elite sport presents many challenges to those in a leadership position, and one of the biggest challenges that affects success lies in people management according to Dan: “It’s not just about giving orders but about taking individuals on a collective journey towards a shared vision. When athletes feel they are part of something bigger, they buy into a team vision, and that sets the path to success.”   


Dan Clark of GB Basketball with Raj Thiruchelvarajah of Hytro


Having spent decades in the competitive arena, Dan highlighted the invaluable skills gained from team sports, such as collaborating, communicating, and working towards a common goal. He shared his belief that this approach isn’t confined to the court, commenting: “It isn’t just for sport, it extends into every area of life. It’s extremely important to have developed teamwork skills.” 


Effective leadership is built on ensuring each person involved feels integral to the overall vision, winning teams achieve great things when every individual is engaged in the process and is focusing on the team’s collective success. This is something that is echoed in the culture being nurtured at Hytro by CEO and Co-Founder, Raj Thiruchelvarajah. He commented “Working with some of the world’s top athletes, teams and coaches gives me a privileged insight into the workings of great leaders. Collaboration is integral to success, and people thrive when they feel valued in their roles. At Hytro, we are striving to emulate the workings of winning teams, by empowering our employees and creating a high-performance culture”. 


While acknowledging the rich basketball culture in countries like Serbia and Spain, Dan expressed optimism about the untapped potential within emerging basketball nations. With the right infrastructure and investment, nations like the UK could harness their athletic talent and carve a formidable presence on the global stage. “We have the potential, especially physically and athletically, to challenge countries that have hundreds of years of basketball history. A lot of our players are naturally gifted and have the athleticism, strength, and power needed to take on these powerhouses. We are working players into our pathway where they learn what’s good for their bodies and how to make the most of what they’ve got.” 


Dan Clark playing basketball


For young athletes navigating their journey to a basketball career, access to guidance and resources is paramount. While individual responsibility plays a role, Dan states “As a basketball nation, we must have the right people in the right places to make those opportunities available for the athletes. When sports organisations and governing bodies provide adequate support and direction, aspiring athletes can realise their full potential”. 


Reflecting on the evolution of performance training since his time as a professional basketball player, Dan highlighted recovery and player welfare as having progressed substantially from his playing experiences. He added “It’s come a long way from putting your legs up the wall for 5 minutes and praying they don’t hurt too much tomorrow. Now, with Hytro, we have these extremely accessible BFR shorts that players can put on after practice, after a game on the bus, or wherever they may be. It couldn’t be easier!”. 


Hytro’s mission is to advance the use of BFR technology through efficient and accessible tools so athletes at all levels can optimise their performance via enhanced preparation, training, and recovery. Dan identified that brands like Hytro play a pivotal role in enhancing athlete performance through innovative solutions, harnessing technology and research to empower athletes. Dan spoke of Hytro’s accessibility and effectiveness: “Hytro is accessible to everyone, you don’t need to be at a high-performance centre to use it. You can have it in your bag, workout anywhere, and reap the performance and recovery benefits. Once athletes understand that they can’t lose.” 


Dan Clark of GB Basketball sat on chair at side of a basketball court


“The accessibility and effectiveness of Hytro’s BFR Performance Shorts offer athletes a competitive edge, regardless of their location or resources” states Raj. “One of our main business aims is to make BFR more accessible, through a versatile product that an elite athlete, or member of the public, can use to boost their health and performance, at a justifiable investment”. 


The landscape of elite basketball continues to evolve, presenting both challenges and opportunities for athletes, coaches, and brands alike. By creating a culture of collaboration and evolution, Hytro intends to enable athletes to achieve their full potential, in collaboration with the Great British team, to elevate the standards of UK basketball. 


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