Rugby League Cares, Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the Rugby Football League are teaming up to support junior players at community clubs across the UK who have been struggling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
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.”
The partnership between RL Cares and RLWC2021 builds on the forthcoming joint Ahead of the Game initiative run in conjunction with Movember, the global men’s health charity.
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 email@example.com