The PCA’s groundbreaking educational workshops designed to give players coping strategies with social media use and abuse have begun. The professional game-wide sessions address the role that social media can have on your mental health, both positive and negative.
These workshops are being delivered with the support of 27 PCA partners who have directly contributed to this project, devised over an 18-month period as a direct response to the rise in the number of members reporting online issues and abuse.
The contents of the presentation have been supported by interviews with a huge number of current and former England players including the likes of Stuart Broad, Alex Hartley, Kate Cross and Jofra Archer. They have all shared their experiences with social media with an aim to help educate and provide coping mechanisms for their peers. Although there are pitfalls, the players spoke of the benefits to using different platforms and how they can be used positively, allowing players to interact with fans and share their experiences.
The content is being delivered to all professional squads, and the presentation for each session is jointly led by PCA Personal Development Manager Nick Denning and Player Engagement Manager at Sporting Chance, Eddie Johnson. The sessions will highlight the impact on mental health from abuse, overuse and addiction on social media.
England and Warwickshire fast bowler Olly Stone, who has completed the hour-long session, said: “Talking about this subject in the past has been a sign of weakness so it is nice to know going forward that people can come out and talk openly will only help the game and the individual who is struggling.
“Unfortunately, there are always going to be negative comments. If you go looking for it then you will find it. I will have a little look now and then. It is just about parking them and looking on the positive side of it.
“These sessions are so helpful, learning about the different ways of dealing with it. I did not know that you can mute certain words so you can avoid some of the comments that you might get.
“We have seen how vital the PCA can be to players, they are such a good sounding board that we can always fall back on.”
Fellow Warwickshire seamer Manraj Johal, who made his breakthrough into professional cricket in 2021, said: “While still being a relatively new player, I have only experienced the positive side of social media. It is nice to get an insight from people who have dealt with difficulty and to learn about how they deal with it. Hopefully, I should know how to handle it and who to contact now if I do experience it.”
PCA Personal Development Manager Nick Denning, said: “This is a project that has taken a lot of planning and research. We have taken extra care to make sure we are providing the very best advice with our partners at Sporting Chance.
“Professional athletes spend so much time using social media, they read the things written about them, both good and bad.
“One issue we have is the amount of trolling on social media and the plan is to give them some tools to build up some resilience about how we use it.”
Eddie Johnson Player Engagement Manager at Sporting Chance, said: “We are trying to highlight some of the positives and negatives of social media and giving the players some tools and techniques of how they can use it positively.
“But, also if they are experiencing issues they know where they can access support. Either through the PCA Confidential Helpline or with Sporting Chance.
“We are trying to help them figure out why their usage might be increasing, but also why this might be affecting them. If they have an injury or their performance has dropped and they are using it for some feedback then we are trying to help them have a healthier relationship with social media.”
The PCA would like to thank the following businesses for supporting this initiative: Argentex, Ashurst, Automotive Paint Supplies, Barrington Ayre, Bevan Brittan, Civils and Lintels, Financial Times, Finders Keepers, Goodform, Grant Thornton, Holdsworth Financial, Impulse Decisions, Infinity Works, Kerry London, Lodders, Lucidica, Michael Reed Wealth Management, Mortgage Force, New Balance, Northern Trust, Pearlfinders, Polypipe, Robinson Manufacturing, Robin Stanton-Gleaves, Serious Cricket, Showpiece Design, TMB Events.