'Kick Off'
 'Tackling Mental Health for Rugby League'
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'Sports do not build character, they reveal it.'


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 Kick Off...Mental Health for Rugby League

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Practical methods for meeting the needs of Junior League

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As a Club



  • Develop & Establish a ‘Code of Conduct’ for those involved  
  • Ensure all those directly involved with players have a ‘blue card’ or similar clearance 
  • Introduce educational & informational sessions regarding mental health issues & drugs & alcohol 
  • Provide a screening system for spotters, scouts & player managers 
  • Make yourselves available, accessible & approachable to the players  
  • Ensure those involved at administrative & coaching levels receive adequate information & training with respect to psychological, emotional & social needs 
  • If linked to a senior club, endeavor to provide ‘causal’ or ‘structured’ mentorship from player representatives of that club 
  • Develop a ‘mission statement’ for the club 



As a Coach 



  • Ensure you are a stable & appropriate role model for the players – both on & off the field 
  • Be aware of the total needs of the player  
  • Be sensitive to any issues a player may have – either personally or in respect to the game  
  • Communicate with parents & committee/board members  
  • Do not allow external conflict with parents, board/committee members, players, other coaches etc. to interfere with your functioning & commitment.   
  • Maintain impartiality  



As a Parent



  • Provide a stable & secure home environment  
  • Become involved with your child’s sport  
  • Take an interest in all their achievements – attend games, gatherings & social functions relating to the club activities   
  • Encourage activities outside of Rugby League, and even sport itself  
  • Ensure that educational needs are met  
  • Listen & allow your child the opportunity to be as open & honest with you as possible  
  • Keep friction and conflict that may arise out of involvement with the club ‘in house’ & attempt to not involve the child or make the child aware  



As a Player 





  • RESPECT – Respect your Parents, Respect your Coach, Respect the Game & Respect Yourself  
  • HONESTY – Be honest with all those above, but especially yourself  
  • COMMUNICATION  – Talk to your parents, not only about football, but issues of concern. If this is not possible, seek someone you can talk to. Be upfront with your coach, though respectfully & politely. Don’t ‘bottle up’ your thoughts, feelings & emotions.  
  • COMMITMENT  – Be committed to your club & the game. Similarly, be committed to your appointed coach & your teammates.  
  • EFFORT – No success is achieved without ‘effort’. Put in at training, put in during the game, but more importantly ‘put in at life’.  
  • RESPONSIBILITY  – You have responsibilities as a player in a team sport with a role to play in the game. You are also a representative of the club you have chosen to play for and who have given you the opportunity to expand and develop your skills. You are responsible for maintaining a high standard of behaviour and present an acceptable image of the club & the game itself. You are responsible for setting appropriate standards for younger players and guiding them in a healthy lifestyle as a player. Primarily, you have the responsibility to get the best out of yourself as a player and a person.  





  • Make sure you make time for other activities, especially those that don’t involve sport. 
  • Socialize with others outside of Rugby League. 
  • Avoid alcohol, if at all possible, or conversely, drink in moderation and be honest and ‘up front’ with your parents &/or club officials when or if you do. 
  • Do not use illicit drugsunder any circumstances. There is no positive benefit to be achieved – only damage (both short term & long term). 
  • Ensure you do not forsake your education. Planning for the future begins now. 
  • Enjoy the game. If it is becoming a ‘chore’ talk to your coach, your parents, the club officials. 
  • Look after your mates. If any of them are ‘struggling’ with issues of concern, talk to them, support them & encourage them to seek help. Likewise, look after yourself in the same way. 




The establishment of a ‘code of conduct’ is essential in the maintenance of a healthy & stable environment for the development of the junior player. Role modeling by authority figures in the club will contribute significantly to a player’s perception regarding behaviour & conduct and indicates boundaries, values & principles that reflect societal expectations for future life.





©2008 Waldel Pty Ltd

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Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D., FICPP
Senior Psychologist/Director
ADC Psychological Services, PLLC
1728 Broadway, Suite 1
Hewlett, NY 11557







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