On January 29th we travelled up (well sideways really) to Swansea and spent the day talking emotional resilience with children from local primary schools.
We ran four workshops, working with over 60 children, who also got to enjoy a stadium tour after the session. We were honoured to be joined by club legend Lee Trundle, who clocked up 146 appearances for the Swans and is now an ambassador for the club.
Here’s a little clip from the day…
The session began with a series of hands-on activities that were designed to push and frustrate the children, but also be fun. The children recorded their feelings and progress at the end of each challenge. We wanted to demonstrate:
- That you’ll face varied challenges in life, often with no prior warning!
- That you won’t ‘finish’ everything you start but the process is still meaningful
- That often experiences are both positive and negative
Football is a fantastic example of this last point, it’s great fun playing football, but it can be very frustrating too. This picture, taken after John Terry missed a penalty in the Champion League, sums up the highs and lows pretty well!
Most of us find the highs fairly easy to navigate but the lows can be more challenging. And the lows of football are insignificant when compared to some of the challenges we face in life. A good example of this is Jake Livermore, now playing for West Bromwich Albion, who turned to drugs after the death of his son and very nearly lost everything.
The idea of emotional resilience is to help children identify and understand their emotions and to develop strategies for coping with negative emotions. This was the focus of the second half of the session and the response from the children was excellent. We also wanted to speak to the children about mental health with the clear and simple message ‘it’s OK not to be OK’.
Emotional resilience is not the same as mental illness, which can affect anyone at anytime. However, it has been shown to lower the risk of developing a mental illness, and with no known cures, risk reduction is important.
We ended the session by gifting each child a copy of Striker Boy, which had kindly been donated by the club, and telling them about our national writing competition.
Striker Boy is a fantastic football themed thrilled perfect for children and young teens. This special not-for-profit edition of Striker Boy has been published in aid of Mind, after the author, Jonny Zucker, sadly took his own life. The book costs £6.99 and £1.40 from every copy is donated to Mind.
Use the links below for more information:
- The Striker Boy writing competition
- Striker Boy teacher resources
- Buy multiple copies
- By a single copy
- More info about the campaign
If you would like us to come and run an emotional resilience session at your club or school, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, we would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Swansea City A.F.C for their kindness and support.
If you have concerns about your own mental health or that of someone you care about you can contact Mind’s confidential info line on 0300 123 3393
If you are thinking about taking your own life call the Samaritans 24/7 on 116 123