May 2017: Continuing our partnership with Football South Coast Association Youth League teams
We were incredibly lucky to have the support of Football South Coast during the season last year. This year, we are working closely with the Football South Coast Association Youth League teams to deliver our new and improved adolescent workshop 'Your Path to Success in Sport' which focuses on helping athletes build the skills they need to manage adversity in sport. Tonight, Friday May 12th 2017, we welcome the U13's, U14's, U15's and U16's to the university where we will get the teams started on our website. We would especially like to thank Ann-Marie Balliana, Jonathan Forster and Debbie Hoyn for their continued support and help in facilitating the workshops tonight.
Football South Coast logo 
May 2017: Announcing our partnership with the Wollongong Wolves
We are excited to launch our partnership with the Wollongong Wolves tonight, Monday 8th May 2017. We are starting with our Help Out a Mate workshop for all age groups, which helps athletes understand how to recognise when someone might be struggling and what they can do to help. We are also running our workshop for parents, which complements the athlete program. The workshops are always fun and informative, so here's to the success of this new collaboration! We would especially like to thank Chris Papakosmas, Dean Merola, and all of the coaches, athletes and parents who have supported the Ahead of the Game program so far.
If you would like to hear more about our programs, you can reach the team at or subscribe to our newsletter.
Wolves Logo 
March 2017: Athlete transitions after sport - Ahead of the Game researchers Dr Stewart Vella & Helen Ferguson talk about prepping young athletes for the future with Emilie Wells and The Stand
This week, The Stand features mental health, identity and life after a professional sports career. Featuring insights from the Ahead of the Game researchers and NRL star Dan Hunt, it's an interesting look at how sports challenges and transitions can affect everyone, even elite players. To read more, just click herePhotograph by Paul Jones, The Stand.
HF & SV The Stand March 2017
Ahead of the Game researcher Dr Christian Swann talks 'mental toughness' with Grant Reynolds and The Stand
Mental toughness, decision making, responding to challenges, and resilience in sport are key areas of interest for the Ahead of the Game team. One of our researchers, Dr Christian Swann, recently spoke to The Stand about how professional mountain climbers make tough decisions in difficult circumstances. To read more about the findings from this research, click here
Dr Christian Swann
November 2016 - More club announcments!
Ahead of the Game continues to grow, with new partnerships across the Illawarra region and beyond. We are pleased to announce our partnerships with Kiama Cricket, the Highlands Golf Club, Nathan's Tennis at Gannons, and the International Goal Keepers Academy. We are glad to have so many clubs involved and making a commitment to adolescent mental health. To keep up with the project, you can sign up to our newsletter here, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

October 2016 - Club Engagement Update: Announcing our first SURF LIFE SAVING Club!
It's a sign that summer is on the way! We have recruited our first Surf Life Saving Club and want to welcome Scarborough Wombarrra SLSC as partners on our Ahead of the Game project. Thank you for helping us look after adolescent mental health in sport, we look forward to working with you. Has your SLSC signed up to receive the program? Contact the team today. And don't forget to follow our progress on Twitter and Instagram!


October 2016 - Club Engagement Update: Even more CRICKET clubs sign up!
An Ahead of the Game warm welcome to the latest cricket clubs who have signed up to receive our programs. We can't wait to partner with you on this great initiative for adolescent mental health. Why not join Gerringong cricket and UOW cricket and sign up your club today? For more information or to sign up your club, contact the team today.
October 2016 - Club Engagement Update: Ahead of the Game welcomes new GOLF clubs aboard!
Ahead of the Game continue to sign up new clubs each week and we are excited that so many clubs are interested in supporting their adolescents. Today we are proud to announce partnerships with Wollongong Golf Club and Kiama Golf Club. Their players and coaches will benefit from our new programs - why not join them? For more information or to sign up your club, contact the team today.






October 2016 - Club Engagement Update: Ahead of the Game welcomes new CRICKET clubs aboard!
We are also announcing partnerships with the following cricket clubs, who have signed up to our research program with the Movember Foundation. We are glad to have you aboard and look forward to working with you on this important issue. A warm Ahead of the Game welcome to Helensburgh Cricket Club, the Corrimal Cougars, the Northern Districts Butchers, and the Keira Cricket Club. It looks like these clubs will have the edge this season - why not get your club involved? Contact our team here.







October 2016 - Club Engagement Update: Ahead of the Game welcomes TENNIS to the roster!
We are pleased to announce new partnerships with the following tennis clubs who are helping us to look after adolescent mental health. We warmly welcome Complete Tennis Wollongong and Bulli & Districts Tennis Association to the program. We are really looking forward to get started working with you! If you would like your tennis club to sign up, just get in touch with the team here




September 2016 - Club Engagement Update: Welcome to Port Kembla Cricket club!
Our clubs engagement officers are busily out and about recruiting clubs for the summer season. As part of this process, we would like to warmly welcome Port Kembla cricket club to the Ahead of the Game program. We really appreciate their support of adolescent mental health and we look forward to working together to deliver our innovative programs. Port Kembla's cricket players are going to have the edge this season, by accessing our sports performance and resilience package. If your club is interested in developing these skills, get in touch with the team today.




August 2016 - Recruiting Clubs for Summer
Today we welcomed our new clubs engagment officers to the Ahead of the Game team. They will be helping us to recruit clubs for the summer season. They're an enthusiastic bunch with a real passion for sport and improving adolescent mental health. This season, we are looking to recruit sports clubs in cricket, swimming, tennis, golf and surf-life saving. If you would like to get involved, keep an eye out for phone calls and emails from our clubs engagement officers. You can contact us here and you can always keep up with Ahead of the Game by following us on Twitter or Instagram


July 2016 - NSW Country Junior Rugby Training Camps
We recently worked with NSW Country Junior Rugby to deliver our workshops to coaches and rugby players from all around NSW at their 4 day training camp. It was great to get involved in a new sport and try out the material in a different setting. We hope all the participants enjoyed it and we look forward to meeting up with everyone again in Canberra! You can keep up with what's happening with Ahead of the Game by following us on Twitter or Instagram



June 2016 - Help Out A Mate Workshops 
We are getting excited to start rolling out our Help Out a Mate workshops to clubs enrolled in Ahead of the Game. The workshops are for adolescent male athletes and by the end of it, they'll know what to do or say if a friend is having a tough time. We are kicking off with Albion Park this week. If your club hasn't yet scheduled a workshop, get in touch with your clubs engagement officer now. For more information contact 
January 2016 - Currently enrolling Illawarra sports clubs
We've started enrolling Illawarra clubs and we are pleased to have partnered with Football South Coast and AFL South Coast as part of our clubs engagement process. This January, Stewart and Christian met with representatives from local football and AFL clubs, where they presented information about the project and encouraged clubs to sign up to Ahead of the Game. So far, we've enrolled fifteen clubs - has your club enrolled yet? Why not sign up now?
Great thanks to Ann-Marie Balliana at Football South Coast and Lauren Hodgson at AFL South Coast for partnering with us on this great Movember initiative!
'Ahead of the Game' at Uni in the Brewery
Members of the Ahead of the Game team recently participated in the University of Wollongong’s ‘Uni in the Brewery’ series. The idea of the series is for researchers to discuss their work with the community in a relaxed setting. On November 18th 2015, Stewart and Andrea presented on sport, mental health, and how Ahead of the Game is planning to reach adolescent males through community sport. They were later joined by Dan Hunt from the Illawarra Dragons, who spoke about his own experiences as an ambassador for the NRL State of Mind campaign.
Watch the presentation below:
You can check out photos from the night here and you can sign up to the Uni in the Brewery mailing list here.


‘Ahead of the Game’ Supported by the Movember Foundation
Ahead of the Game is made possible by the generous support of the Movember Foundation, who have funded the research program as part of their Australian Mental Health Initiative. Ahead of the Game will be the first Australian study to investigate the role of community sports clubs in reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems, improving mental health knowledge, helping adolescent males to build skills and resilience across the sporting season, and providing clubs with the tools needed to support young men experiencing tough times.
Preliminary research commenced this year with consultations with coaches, parents and adolescent males involved in organised sport across six codes – AFL, basketball, cricket, football, swimming and tennis. The Ahead of the Game project team used this community input to design programs that best suit the needs of those involved with sports clubs in the Illawarra. Thanks to the Movember Foundation’s commitment to the mental health of Australian men, the program is set to roll out in 2016!