Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) concludes its two-day Player Development Managers conference as it continues to work towards establishing a ‘world class’ player wellbeing and development program.

Attended by Player Development Managers (PDMs) from all A-League clubs and those from the elite development pathway the aim of the conference was to review and audit the current wellbeing and development program.

Items high on the agenda included the skills needed to be a PDM, key program requirements, and the structure of the program going forward.

PFA National Manager Player Development Ben Robertson described the conference as an important step in the pursuit of establishing the best player development and wellbeing program in sport.

“Professional football is very much a unique environment and to service players with the best possible program it is vital that we continue to both utilise the knowledge of the PDMs and assist them in their continued development,” Robertson said.

“During our discussions we focused on a number of key issues, which included auditing the current program, the development of a new strategic plan and discussing the skills required to be a PDM.

“As we look to ensure best practice for the program we were fortunate to have leaders in the field present to the group.

“Matti Clements from Mental Edge Consulting presented on understanding wellbeing and wellbeing services. Brett Stringer from Business Builders discussed entrepreneur programs and services and Erin Devlin CEO and Principal Consultant from Infront Sports Consulting presented on work placement programs.

“We were also fortunate to have a presentation from PFA Major Partners LUCRF Super on financial education and fellow partner the Australian Institute of Management discussed all the education and professional development opportunities they offer players.

“The conference was another important step as the PFA looks to significantly bolster the player development and wellbeing services. The insights that were gained over the two days will be integral in the pursuit of a ‘world class’ program.

“As a major code in the Australian sporting landscape it is imperative that football’s player development program services the needs of the player to enhance their performance on and off pitch.

“Quality Player Development programs are entrenched in successful codes and has genuine buy in from all key stakeholders, we in football are starting to understand the importance and benefits of the program, but the journey continues.”