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The cancellation of matches and training, restrictions on movement and social distancing measures introduced during the lockdown have been keenly felt by many young people.
Now the independent charity RL Cares, RLWC2021 and the RFL have come together to deliver a series of mental fitness and resilience workshops to players aged between 12 and 18, their coaches and supporting adults.
RL Cares has considerable experience promoting good mental health and will be using that expertise to equip teenagers with the techniques and knowledge that will enable them to manage their own mental fitness.
The 45-minute long workshops will be delivered online by former professional Rugby League players who have undergone specialist training with RL Cares.
Emma Goldsmith, the Head of Grants at RL Cares, said: “The lockdown has not been an easy time for any of us but it has been particularly tough on some of the most vulnerable people within Rugby League communities.
“The sport has a wonderful, proven ability to change behaviours for the better and lift the mood of participants of all ages: for the last 100-plus days our young people have had all that taken away.
“After speaking to coaches and club officials, it’s clear that many teenagers are suffering low mood and feeling frustrated by what’s been happening in their world.
“Our workshops will get across the message that it’s OK not to feel OK and that there are ways to feel better.
“Playing Rugby League boosts both physical and mental health: the workshops will give young people tips and advice on managing their mental welfare so that when the restrictions are lifted and they can start playing again, they will be in the best emotional shape.”
Ahead of the Game will work with community Rugby League clubs across the country to with the aim of improving mental resilience in adolescent athletes and raising mental fitness literacy and awareness among players, parents, and coaches.
The mental wellbeing and resilience workshops programme will help teenage players tackle the challenge of lockdown until Ahead of the Game begins in the autumn.
Tracy Power, Legacy Director of RLWC2021 said: “In January we launched our Mental Fitness Charter with the aim of making a difference to those playing and coaching Rugby League across England.
“Since making that commitment we have faced an unparalleled global crisis that has significantly impacted the mental health of our young players
“By working with RL Cares to support the virtual workshop programme we hope to make a positive difference, that will provide young players with the help and advice they need to during this difficult period and beyond.”
The RL Cares mental fitness and resilience workshops for young people aged between 12 and 18 will begin on July 13 and are open to all community Rugby League clubs. To book a workshop, or for more details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The sport is proud to announce the launch of Rugby League United, a campaign led by the independent charity, Rugby League Cares in association with the RFL, Super League (Europe) and RLWC2021.
Rugby League United is a response to requests from Government, the NHS and Sport England for sport to take the lead in keeping people mentally as well as physically fit during these challenging times.
Working alongside players, community organisations and national mental health charities such as Mind and Samaritans, Rugby League United will equip people with the practical tools and techniques they need to stay in the best of health over the difficult weeks and months ahead.
The campaign builds on the fantastic work already undertaken by RL Cares and club foundations in delivering the Offload programme – a men’s mental fitness project aimed at tackling depression and anxiety, which has already engaged with over 2,000 men since its inception in 2017.
Coronavirus restrictions mean that face-to-face Offload activity has been suspended and replaced by ‘virtual’ support to Offload squad members: that support will now be extended to people at every level of the wider Rugby League family.
Rugby League United will see RL Cares, the RFL, Super League (Europe) and RLWC2021 work with current and former players to support the mental fitness of all communities. The campaign will offer guidance on areas such as:
There will be weekly live and interactive e-Offload sessions every Tuesday, including Q&As with current and former players, Mindfulness clinics and live sessions on how to look after your own and your friends’ and families’ mental fitness.
Sessions will be delivered through the easily accessible Zoom platform: links will be shared across the sport’s social media channels.
Rugby League United will also feature short videos filmed by current and former players which focus on how they are looking after their own mental fitness, alongside hints and tips on how you can look after loved ones, family members, close friends, and work colleagues.