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Play ON! e-Learning Series - Session #4 - Resiliency and Mental Health in Youth Athletes

By Staff, 03/30/21, 10:30AM EDT


Join us on April 1 at 1 pm as Dr. Tracy VAILLANCOURT will discuss the things all soccer leaders must know and take responsibility for

Play. Inspire. Unite. 

Ontario Soccer’s Play ON! eLearning Series presented by Respect in Sport continues on Thursday, April 1st with an important presentation by Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt, Professor in Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa and passionate Ontario Soccer provincial coach. Her research examines the links between bullying and mental health, with a particular focus on social neuroscience and in this webinar she will be exploring an essential subject that is top of mind for all soccer leaders at this time: Resiliency and Mental Health in Young Athletes.

Dr. Vaillancourt will bring her in-depth knowledge on the subject to bear and leverage the unique intersection of her academic excellence as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in School-Based Mental Health and Violence Prevention at the University of Ottawa with her high-level soccer experience, as a holder of a Canada Soccer National B License. She is also an active member of Ontario Soccer’s Technical Advisory Committee and served as a consultant for Canada Soccer’s newly launched Children’s Licence.

It is a troubling fact that the prevalence of behavioural and emotional disorders among young Canadians is high. Research has demonstrated that one in five youth have serious mental health problems that are often chronic and tend to lead to significant impairment in their school and home life, as well as in their community functioning. Unfortunately, the pandemic has exacerbated these problems in many youth and shone a light on a mental health crisis in need of immediate attention.

In this presentation, Dr. Vaillancourt will explore and discuss three key aspects that all soccer leaders must know about and take responsibility for:

  1. Vital background information on mental health and resiliency in young athletes;
  2. The important role of physical activity in health and wellness;
  3. Practical advice to show coaches and activity leaders what they can do to help their players cope with the unprecedented stress of the pandemic.

As the soccer community emerges from the restrictions it had to navigate over the last year to make its safe Return to Play, young players will feel excited, but may also experience anxiety and stress as to what to expect and concern how they may “measure up” after such a lengthy soccer break. A supportive and structured approach informed by Dr. Vaillancourt’s insights will be essential to ensure that the youth under our collective care have a positive experience, as they return to the game they love.

Throughout the series from March 10th to April 29th, Ontario Soccer will offer a weekly online session with succinct and relevant insights and practical take-aways designed to appeal to a diverse cross-section of Ontario Soccer members and stakeholders (Clubs, Academies, Districts, Leagues, administrators, coaches, managers, volunteers, parents, players, officials, etc.).