From the program manager’s desk…

words by Tackle Your Feelings, Thursday 20 May 2021

Nick Walsh

With the community football season in full swing, so is the delivery of our program across Australia.

In recent weeks, we’ve delivered sessions in metropolitan and regional parts of Australia. This year we have partnered with all the State Leagues including Tasmania and, most recently, delivered a session for the first-time on King Island.

Through the 20 partnerships we’ve established with community, state leagues and Regional Sports Assemblies across Australia, we’ve been able to operationalise the program.

We’ve focused on training up coordinators and psychologists in each region to ensure we’re creating lasting connections between clubs and the program.

As program manager, I’ve been trying to attend as many sessions as possible.

Last week I visited the St Mary’s Football Club in Geelong – home to a number of current AFL players (Jackson Nelson, Jack Henry, Matt Ling, Charlie Lazzaro and Oliver Henry) – where there was an overwhelming number of coaches and committee numbers in attendance.

We also recently travelled to Gippsland and in conjunction with GippSport we hosted a panel discussion with TYF ambassador, Dylan Buckley and program Psychologist Luke Jankie to encourage a full club approach to well-being. Following the panel discussion, the coaches and committee members stayed on to take part in a TYF workshop.

You can see more from our visit to Stratford Football Netball Club in the video below.

As mentioned, we’ve expanded the program to be delivered in Tasmania as well.

As part of the launch, we delivered the program in King Island and Deloraine last week.

Delivering the program in King Island was a fascinating experience. It’s a small island located off Tasmania’s north-east coast with a population of roughly 1,500 people.

The football club is an important part of the community there and we had approximately 35 coaches and committee members in attendance.

Experiencing the program delivery in a place like King Island, or other regional areas, gives you an important insight into the role that football clubs play in tight knit communities.

We also delivered the program in Deloraine, 30km outside of Launceston, where Hawthorn coach and TYF ambassador Alastair Clarkson joined us for a Zoom session where he shared his own experiences and understanding of mental health, as well as providing a unique insight into the Hawks’ clash with North Melbourne.

It was a great experience for the coaches in the room to have Clarko dial in and share insights into the ups and downs of football, what the hub was like last year, and the general fallout for AFL clubs from COVID.

AFL Tasmania, through their head Damian Gill, have been terrific in bringing to life the program in Tasmania.

We’re looking to host up to 20 workshops in Tasmania this year, with hopefully expansion over the coming years of the program.

They’re a strong football state and community clubs are the fabric of the community.

They’ve seen some hard times as a state in recent years and mental health has become a critical focus area.

We’re about to enter our busiest period in the program. Between now and the middle of July our community sessions and face-to-face deliveries will be in full swing.

With that in mind, we’re going to Darwin next week in conjunction with the Gold Coast Suns and AFLNT to deliver the program and connect with community coaches and umpires up north.

We’re also working closely with former Sydney Swans premiership player Ryan O’Keefe and AFL NSW to deliver the program in Broken Hill – a mining town in the far west of NSW.

One of the things that I’m most proud of when it comes to delivering the TYF program, is the chance to give unique opportunities to football clubs that would often miss out on experiences because of their location.

Being able to connect with Broken Hill and bring our ambassador and GWS Giants coach Leon Cameron with us will be a great experience and continue to showcase the best of the program.