- Alex Mills
Education: Season Review
Our education department has been very busy over the last 9 months, with face-to-face education finally returning for the majority of our sports, and despite ongoing Covid restrictions we have managed to deliver high quality education throughout. As our main season has drawn to a close, we thought it would be an opportune time for a quick round up of some of our favourite projects from this season.
Here are our top five highlights:
Women’s Super League DiSE (Diploma in Sporting Excellence) Programme
This season we were delighted to be one of the mental health education providers on the WSL DiSE programme, organised by Loughborough College, delivering online to all DiSE members within academy teams. This education piece is another measure in addition to those outlined in a recent BBC article discussing mental health support within WSL academies. These sessions were delivered by female Sporting Chance staff members who have personal experience of high-level sport, alongside qualified therapists. Overall, we felt that this project was a huge success with lots of athletes being very open and honest during the sessions about their own mental health and with feedback indicating that a lot of helpful information was taken from the session.
Professional Cricketers' Association Social Media and Mental Health Seminars
Another first for us in the last 9 months has been the rollout of mental health and social media workshops to all county cricket first teams in both the men’s and women’s game. These sessions were delivered in conjunction with the PCA and ignited some very interesting and thought-provoking conversations within every session. This has allowed us to better our relationship with cricket clubs and has led to further bespoke education being delivered for both Gloucestershire and Glamorgan on the topics of athletic identity, performance and self-care and support. We are looking forward to the next rollout of workshops on a different topic.
Premier League Staff Education
This season has also seen us further dip our toes into the waters of staff facing education. This has previously been something we delivered exclusively online; however, we had the opportunity this season to cultivate this further and deliver two half-day workshops at Aston Villa for their club Mental Health Champions. This was a learning process for us as much as it was for the attendees, allowing us to try out a different, more experiential delivery style and has given us a lot to think about for the next season. It has also allowed us to identify a need for player-facing staff education and the need to better educate those who have responsibility for players and who are able to communicate with them regarding their own mental health and the support available. The better equipped these people are to signpost and the more they understand their own mental health, the better they will be able to help their players.
Furthering Jockey Education
We have continued to provide ongoing education on an increasing number of jockey licence courses at both the National Horseracing College and the British Racing School. These sessions continue to focus on substance use and abuse, looking at the affect of substances on lifestyle, career and performance at all levels of horseracing. We have also branched out this season and delivered some social media education in partnership with the Injured Jockey’s Fund as part of a jockey profiling day. This session not only talked about safe social media use but really examined an individual’s relationship with social media and how that may impact on their behaviours as well as mental and physical health.
Football Association: Women’s National Team Pathway (Staff)
Finally, to round off our top five highlights, we recently delivered education to all performance and player-facing staff within the women’s national team pathway. This was a wonderful opportunity for us to get further involved in the women’s game, especially at a national team level. Our education had a particular focus on evidence-based learning from the presenting issues and research that we have done at Sporting Chance. It also examined the relationship between mental health and performance and how that links in with performance psychology. We are excited about delivering more of this type of education as we look towards the next season.
Over the summer the education team at Sporting Chance will be reflecting on all of the above highlights, what we can learn from them and further develop as we go forward. We will also be looking at those stakeholder sports where face to face education has been a bit trickier due to Covid restrictions, such as darts, squash and tennis, and further exploring how we can develop education for these sports as restrictions ease further and further.