The three-year project, entitled High Performing Parents, has been supported by the Tom Maynard Trust, and involves a series of workshops and seminars for the parents of the Wales Under-18 and Wales Under-20 squad players and covers various subjects from psychology to nutrition, time management to social media.
The first session included key input from performance coach Andy McCann; Elite Performance Director of Sport Wales Brian Davies; David James, who is the father of cyclists Becky, Rachel and Ffion; former Wales union international Andries Pretorius, who was recently forced to retire due to a rare medical condition; and recent Wales Under-20 captain, Steffan Hughes. The next workshop is scheduled for December.
WRU national performance manager Gethin Watts said:
“We support our young players as much as we can, but parents, who are so vital to a player’s development and well-being, are often overlooked. Through no fault of their own, they are often not fully aware of the pressures on their children who are trying to manage their every-day lives with the demands of their sporting commitments. We believe that by supporting the parents, we can make a difference in the development of our young athletes and players of the future.”
Andy McCann said:
“It is important to recognise that the career life of a high performing athlete is, for most, a journey taken by the whole family, not just by the athlete themselves. In addition, success can often come quickly, affecting the whole family, and so it is far better to be proactive in preparing for it than just reactive in trying to deal with it.”
On behalf of the Tom Maynard Trust, Mike Fatkin said:
“We are delighted to be partnering with the WRU on this exciting new initiative over the next three years. There is a natural fit between what they are trying to achieve and some of our objects in terms of trying to help educate emerging young sportspeople. A lot of thought has obviously gone into the shaping of this particular initiative and although we are already supporting other agencies in rugby union, the approach this programme is taking is very different in that the parents of the young sportspeople involved are targeted as a means of conveying the various messages. That could have a really positive impact. The Tom Maynard Trust has its base in Wales and naturally we are thrilled to be able to work in conjunction with the WRU in helping to develop young talent in Wales.”