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Academy ramps up focus on mental health of athletes

South West Sydney Academy of Sport has responded to the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic with a new athlete support services program.

“Due to the events of Covid-19, the academy board has taken a conscious step heading into 2021 to provide an increased focus on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of athlete and coaching staff,’’ says  academy CEO Gerry Knights.

The academy has engaged former NRL player David Gower and Forge Wellbeing to headline the athlete support services program.

Targeted strategies at an academy, squad or personal athlete level will allow the academy to keep a close eye on the mental health and wellbeing of its athletes and coaches.

“The athlete support involves the academy providing targeted assistance, such as mental health training and support and accessibility to strength and conditioning services outside of their normal squad programs,’’ says academy sports program manager Daniel Currinckx.

“Our athletes already have access to an accredited sports chaplain, as well as an ever-growing list of academy service providers.

“These services go above and beyond the individual skill development and training provided within their sporting programs, and are essential for the development of not only a holistic athlete, but a good community citizen,’’ Currinckx said.

The academy will officially launch its athlete support program at its upcoming Academy Day at the Western Sydney University.

The academy recently launched its 2021 Qube coach development program, with a session run in conjunction with academy service provider, Movement Essentials.

Academy sports administration officer, Stephen Craig, said coaches who attended were challenged to think outside the box.

“An exciting component of the Qube coach development program is an upcoming presentation to be held on March 12-13 from 3D Coaching Australia,’’ he said.

“This will focus on the reason why coaches coach the way they coach.’’

There will be two identical sessions, to be held in Campbelltown, to allow as many community coaches as possible to participate.

Any coach who’d like to attend can phone the academy office on 4627 7622 or go online at  www.swsas.org.au/coachevents

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