TCA attends World Player Association Conference

In April, Deena Blacking travelled to Scottsdale, Arizona for the 7th World Player Development Conference, an annual conference run by the World Players Association (WPA). The World Players Association, established in 2014, is the global union of professional sport. It brings together 85,000 players across professional sport through more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries. The conference is a moment in time for people who work in athlete unions to come together, share experiences, and learn from each other.

Many of the athlete unions in attendance at the conference are well-established, large-scale organizations, which have many years of experience and resources to match. For example, FIFPro, the World Football Players’ Union, the International Rugby Players’ Association (IRPA), the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) and the New Zealand Athletes’ Federation (NZAF) to name a few.

Over three days, nearly twenty different sessions were delivered by a range of experts from within and outside of the professional sport sector. One of the most valuable aspects of the conference was this wide range of new ideas and perspectives. Below are just a few topics that were covered during the three days:

·   The latest challenges, changes and opportunities for athlete unions

·   Using curiosity and vulnerability in coaching athletes

·   The role of data in working with athletes

·   Mental health support programmes

·   Gamification

·   Design thinking principles

·   Athlete abuse and providing appropriate safe spaces for athletes

The conference is a key opportunity for The Cyclists’ Alliance to meet with experts, access knowledge, and learn about best practice from many of these larger, well-established unions.  However, it was also an excellent reminder that – irrespective of those differences in organisations - many of the challenges faced by athlete unions are similar. These include:

·   Athlete engagement and communication

·   Mental health support

·   Limited resources and/or capacity to support all athlete needs

·   Engagement with other key stakeholders, including national or international federations

Since The Cyclists Alliance (TCA) hired Jeff Reymond as the Executive Director in January 2023, he has facilitated TCA’s closer engagement with the World Players Association and other athlete unions. Jeff was the vice-president of WPA for many years and has worked with several other athlete unions. Over the coming months, we strive to increase TCA’s links with WPA and other associations for the benefit of our athlete members and the long term development of the organisation.

For more information about World Players Association:

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