As a sports coach, coaching young people and educating young people for over 20 years, it saddened me to learn a young player from another club committed suicide.
I thought of the coach, his friends, and team mates but as a parent myself of a young son, I thought about his parents and what they must be going through to lose a child so early.
HOW SPORT SHOULD BE
Sports should be a release from the pressures of life, and be fun and engaging and allow the young person a forum for their creativity and hunger to spill out in a purposeful manner.
Sports should provide a safe environment in which young people can learn about themselves, supporting others and how to approach life.
WHERE THE PROBLEMS CAN OCCUR
In today's digital and social media heavy society, there are many outlets from which pressure can be assumed. A comment here and a picture there can be enough to cause a young person to panic, create an unrealistic perception of pressure and consider how to escape the noise.
Young people aren't always the most communicative and so the challenge becomes how do you communicate a message and culture that allows them to feel safe and confident enough to open up and talk about their feelings and emotions? Not only that but what actions and behaviours then need to be taken to ensure the young person removes any thought of doing the worse.
HOW MY EXPERIENCE, SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE CAN HELP
With over 20 years working with young people in sports and education as a youth worker and key worker plus training in various relevant areas, I've created strategy to help young people open up and feel safe and comfortable. I feel now is the right time to forge ahead and share this knowledge the right way for the right reasons.
THE BIG IDEA
To create a program to share with NGB's, schools and colleges relevant for parents, coaches and young athletes that is so simple yet powerful and purposeful. To train others to deliver this very important program, not just in basketball but all sports both amateur and professional.
WHAT MAKES THIS IDEA DIFFERENT FROM THE PROGRAMS ALREADY OUT THERE?
Firstly, any program that tackles mental health in young people is created for the right reasons; to make a positive difference and these programs deserve attention.
The program that I hope to develop uses a customer-centric approach and specific wording to help people engage and break down barriers.
HOW WILL THE MONEY RAISED BE USED?
Hire a professional website company
Set up a charity or similar organisation
To create a film that demonstrates how the program will work
Work with a program launch company
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Donate knowing your money will go towards helping young sports people find their voice and open up in times of need.