When Steph Collins from SALT (Sport and Life Training) checked in with Luke Kerr from Mount Martha Junior Football Club, she got some great feedback on the value of the Reconnect session SALT had run for his teams.
Luke Kerr is Team Manager for the Under 16 and Under 17 boys teams. He saw how the first lockdown was affecting his players. “The lockdown was so sudden. We didn’t get a chance to prepare them for what was to come. We knew anecdotally that there were boys who were alienated or disconnected and doing much tougher than some of the others, therefore when I saw the material on the online Reconnect Program that SALT runs, I knew it was an opportunity to, in particular, reach some of those boys who were more isolated or marginalised by COVID-19.”
The SALT Reconnect Program is a 60-90 minute online session that helps leaders and their teams work through the mental challenges brought about by the COVID-19 restrictions and the disrupted, then cancelled football season.
“We had a few parents online during the Reconnect session,” Luke shares. “And what they said was that Dave Burt (Founder, SALT) had a great way of getting some conversations started. They thought using the online polling tool was sheer brilliance – as the 24 kids participating could remain anonymous in their responses.
“There was a real honesty in the sessions, because a lot of kids owned up to the fact that they were finding the situation challenging. We ran our own Zoom session a week after Reconnect one and there were even more players anticipating in that – they were engaging again.”
When the restrictions eased, club life re-started in a limited fashion and they enjoyed really good participation rates – a fact that Luke attributes to the SALT session. Then it was announced that Metropolitan Melbourne would go back into lockdown.
“We were lucky, we got a practice match in the night before the lockdown. A composite team of U16s and U17s played the U15 team. It was played in great spirit – we had an umpire overseeing it. There were about five boys from the U17 team for whom it would be their last game in the club so we got the opportunity to have that game and to celebrate and acknowledge them afterwards.
“It bought a bit of closure to the season. This is often the age when boys weigh up whether to continue playing or hang up their boots and I think, because of the reengagement we’ve bought about thanks to SALT, we’ll see a lot of those boys consider playing again next year.“
When Steph asked Luke whether he would recommend SALT’s Reconnect Program he replied, “I would totally recommend other clubs get behind it. I think the boys had a great experience. They are comfortable with the way SALT goes around handling what are sometimes difficult issues and difficult subjects to bring up with boys and girls of this age. SALT does this in a way that makes people feel supported and there’s a trust – they feel that they can be vulnerable in these sessions. We’ll be doing a follow-up session, for sure.”
Last week SALT ran a session for the Berwick Netball Club and Senior Coach and Captain Chloe Phillips said “The session was incredible – this was my 3rd SALT session. I know that the girls got so much out of it. It provided us with a great platform to remind us on some key messages and ideas. I think the most important thing our girls got out of it was the idea that it’s okay not to be okay but how do we move forward and look after ourselves during those times. I definitely couldn’t recommend the program more highly!”
Dave Burt says “It’s wonderful to have such terrific feedback and to have so many sessions booked in for the coming month. The SALT Re-Connect is now recognised as an absolute must for all sporting clubs through this time.”
Note: The sessions are usually fully funded for sporting clubs thanks to sponsors of SALT. For more information contact SALT at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if your club is eligible.