Brett Whitehead on Hobbies:

The move ‘Play and Hobbies’ may sound simple, but it’s key for a well-balanced life. Things can get pretty intense from time to time. Making time with friends or doing a hobby is really important. Having fun helps improve your mood and releases endorphins (natural hormones that make you feel good).

Having a hobby has lots of benefits. It can allow people to make new friends, develop life skills as well as having fun. It is important to have that time during the week to do something that you enjoy and that will make you feel good. A hobby can be attending a community group, playing an instrument or walking the dog. However, in this case we’re going to look at the sport of Rugby League.

Rugby League is more than just a sport, clubs are a community that bring people with the same passion together. It gives people a sense of belonging, somewhere they can be themselves, let off some steam when needed and provide a trusted support network.

As the Head Coach of Blackpool Stanley RL, I was keen to hear some of my players’ own thoughts on the benefits of having a hobby such as Rugby League. The responses highlighted that the mental benefits were just as, if not more important than the physical benefits.

One player spoke about how he felt after playing:

“The endorphin fix I get; it makes me feel great afterwards and in a really good mood.”

Whilst another player spoke about how he first got involved:

“Growing up with mental health problems, rugby first acted as an escape before becoming a hobby. It was a place where I didn’t need to put a smile on but go out there and express myself on the field.”

Turning to another player I asked what he thought the social benefits of the sport are:

“Those couple of hours a week are absolutely key, having a laugh with the boys sorts you right out and it’s good to be part of a team where others share the same problems and you can talk openly about them.”

Finally, one of the youngest members of the team summarised the sport perfectly:

“No matter your background, size, ability or race there is always a place for you in a rugby team.”


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