NSWRL’s ‘Changing Rooms’ mental fitness sessions

NSWRL’s ‘Changing Rooms’ mental fitness sessions

On Tuesday, July 2nd, the Parramatta Referees invited Paul Langmack from NSWRL to conduct a session based on NSWRL’s ‘Changing Rooms’ mental fitness program.

True Blue Paul Langmack expressed his support for referees after addressing the Parramatta Referees Association as part of the NSWRL’s ‘Changing Rooms’ mental fitness sessions. Langmack, a triple NRL premiership-winner with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the NSWRL’s Mental Fitness and Wellbeing Manager, typically speaks to junior rugby league clubs, high schools, community groups, charities, PCYCs, and other sporting codes.

Langmack discussed the importance of mental health, emphasizing that it’s normal to feel down sometimes, but persistent feelings require seeking help. He shared his own struggles with mental health, including times when he didn’t feel like playing, and stressed that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

He also addressed key areas in officiating and how to handle situations related to match officials. In the brief, focused session before training, members responded positively to his insights.

Langmack highlighted that unlike visible physical injuries, mental health issues are not apparent from the outside and provided key signs to watch for in others. He urged referees not to be too hard on themselves, noting that mistakes are a natural part of the game for both players and referees. He emphasized the importance of moving on from mistakes and not dwelling on the past.

Addressing abuse from the sidelines, Langmack pointed out that such behavior often comes from adults who should know better and are living vicariously through their children. He described these individuals as bullies who couldn’t play or referee themselves.

The referees were advised that negative thoughts and lack of preparation could affect their performance on the field. Langmack provided techniques for controlling emotions and staying calm, such as simple breathing exercises, and encouraged regular practice.

He also stressed the importance of diet and sleep, noting that while junk food might feel good in the moment, it negatively impacts performance. Similarly, he highlighted the critical need for good sleep, for optimal performance.