Tuesday, April 23, 2024

PCA: Proactive players prioritise mental health

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Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association

Gloucestershire squad benefit from pilot PCA wellbeing sessions with Sporting Chance.

Professional cricketers have taken a proactive approach to managing their mental health through pilot sessions facilitated by the PCA, beginning with a series of four workshops delivered to the current Gloucestershire squad.

Playing, coaching and administrative staff at the Bristol-based club received the education over the course of four weeks, with the club valuing the importance of player wellbeing to support them as people and performers by initiating the programme.

It was delivered by Sporting Chance, a service partner of the PCA’s registered charity, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust. The Hampshire-based non-profit organisation provides support to current and former professional athletes for a variety of mental and emotional health issues.

A wide range of topics were discussed during the series, and the broad outline of each session was as follows:

  • Week one: Understanding mental health and your athletic identity as a professional cricketer
  • Week two: Identity through career stages and how you develop as an individual
  • Week three: Therapeutical approaches with a focus on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Week four: Self-care and strategies to maintain wellbeing as a professional cricketer

The PCA worked with Gloucestershire and Sporting Chance to organise the pilot mental wellbeing workshops as a proactive, preventative measure to identify behaviours of positive and poor mental health at an early stage, and give players both the tools and awareness to help manage it moving forwards.

Following on from the pilot Gloucestershire series, the PCA is looking to roll out similar education across professional squads in the near future.

Game-wide referrals for mental health support have steadily increased throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with a record 94 individuals accessing assistance via the Professional Cricketers’ Trust in 2020, according to our latest data.

Supporting members’ mental and emotional wellbeing is a key part of the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP), a personalised support service which aims to help individuals sustain performance within and outside of cricket.

Gloucestershire’s Tom Lace said: “I really enjoyed the sessions delivered by Sporting Chance and it was great to do this a whole squad. It’s great food for thought on what little things you can do to look after your wellbeing, both on and off the cricket pitch. It has provoked a lot of thought and discussion amongst the lads.

“I also think it is a great opportunity for PCA members to become familiar with the support provided by the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, including Sporting Chance’s services. They do brilliant things and to know they are just a call away when you feel like you need help is great.”

PCA Personal Development Manager (PDM) Martin Cropper said: “This workshop series was designed to open up the conversation with a full squad on mental health and wellbeing, and to enable the members to think about how they actively manage life as a professional cricketer.

“Managing your mental health is an ongoing process, and developing greater self-awareness with supporting mental and emotional skills is vital. Sporting Chance did a great job of bringing the topic areas to life, introducing different techniques and making the content accessible in a thought-provoking manner.

“Being proactive in this space through education and intervention strategies such as this will hopefully lead to more PCA members thriving and flourishing throughout and after their career.”

Find out more about the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme.

The Professional Cricketers’ Trust provides lifelong support to PCA members and their immediate families when they need it most. Click here to find out more.


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