With almost 16 seasons under his belt as a senior coach and 134 games of playing experience, Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has come to understand the importance of strong relationships in driving success on and off-field.
Growing up in the small rural town of Kaniva in Victoria’s wheat belt, Clarkson felt a strong sense of community through the football club and connections that were formed there.
Like many community clubs through Australia, Kaniva’s local team was the glue that held the small town together.
Clarkson credits the experiences he had as part of Kaniva’s community for his growth and development as a young person, helping prepare him to take the reins at Hawthorn at just 37 years old.
Now a father figure at Hawthorn, and having successfully led the club to four premierships, including three consecutively, Clarkson is using his platform to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
“I used to think that mental health was something you either have or didn’t… in actual fact we all sit on this continuum,” Clarkson told Tackle Your Feelings.
“It’s like water dripping on a rock and it slowly grinds people down.
“We’re trying to make people aware and let them know that it’s ok to be feeling down.”
Clarkson joined the Tackle Your Feelings program as an ambassador for 2021, joining foundation ambassadors GWS Giants coach Leon Cameron, Melbourne defender Neville Jetta, Fremantle AFLW captain Kara Antonio and past AFL players Chad Cornes and Nathan van Berlo.
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