The buzzword among elite sporting organisations at the moment isn’t toughness or aggression, despite the importance of these traits when the first whistle blows. It’s ‘vulnerability’. From the NBA to the Premier League, from the AFL to the NRL, clubs are rushing to embrace it. Pre-season boot camps have been shunned in favour of these group sessions sitting in a room together, talking about insecurities and weaknesses. So, why the change? First and foremost, it emphasises the importance of honest and meaningful communication. It also creates a strong bond between the players, building a culture of empathy and respect. Players are encouraged to speak up if they are experiencing a tough time or managing a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression. The sporting environment hasn’t always been one that encourages this level of openness when it comes to mental health. It has often been seen as a place where vulnerability is a sign of weakness and a mental health condition as a private battle to be fought but not spoken about.