Practical tips available for parents via an online program to help children play rugby league

Practical tips to help maximize children's enjoyment and participation in Junior Rugby League (JRL) will soon be available for Queensland parents via an online program.

Delivered in partnership between The University of Queensland, National Rugby League (NRL), Queensland Rugby League (QRL), Triple P - Positive Parenting Program and Central Queensland University, the Play-Well Program is ready for the next phase of its release.

Professor Matthew Sanders from UQ's School of Psychology and Founder of the Triple P- Positive Parenting Program said the unique program aimed to provide parents with tools to help their child have the best experience with JRL.

The idea is that when parents register their child to play rugby league, they will have the opportunity to do the Play Well program ahead of the season."

Matthew Sanders, Professor, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland

"The half hour program takes parents through the value of sport to a child's development and provides specific tips and advice that can be used during the season and on game day.

"Play Well has been created through a very careful process of research and development, trialing, and testing.

"We received feedback from parents and coaches to ensure it is a fit-for-purpose program that can be made available to parents who want their kids to have the best experience possible when playing rugby league."

The program trial run through the NRL and QRL demonstrated that a brief, focused, high quality online intervention could produce a meaningful change in the way that parents supported their children's rugby league experience.

Parents reported improvements in their active and constructive participation in their children's sport, such as letting coaches do the coaching, as well as a decline in behaviours that could unintentionally be detrimental, like an over-emphasis on winning.

NRL General Manager Education and Training James Hinchey said coaches and parents are the two most critical people in a child's sporting experience which is why it is important they have access to resources like Play Well.

"For us, the Play Well program is the last piece of a three-piece-puzzle," Mr Hinchey said.

"Over the past four to five years we have spent a lot of time understanding how to deliver the best sporting experience for kids, through our player development framework and accompanying coach education programs.

"Play Well complements these initiatives and can provide an easy, free resource for parents to help contribute to that positive sporting experience.

"What we might find is that some of the strategies parents are able to use in the sporting context can also be transferred into other areas of family life – if that happens, we would be delighted.

"As a sport, one of our main objectives is to make sure we contribute in a positive way to the wellbeing of the rugby league community."

Parents of six to 12 year old South East Queensland participants registering in JRL for the first time will receive an email containing a Play Well access code allowing them to jump online and complete the program.

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