Students of the 2020 Richmond Institute of Sports Leadership (RISL) course have had a surprise inclusion into their classes, with Richmond players and officials being regular guest speakers.

The COVID-19 crisis saw the AFL season temporarily shutdown and the RISL course suddenly delivered wholly-online, making way for players to be personally involved in the Sports Development and Leadership course, delivered in partnership with Swinburne University of Technology.

RISL staff worked tirelessly to switch to an online learning platform to deliver the 2020 course to its 242 students, which is operated in three locations around Victoria - Melbourne, Albury-Wodonga and Mildura.

RISL staff implemented the AFL Growth Program, with the learning focusing on health, and topics such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, mindfulness, connection, learning and budgeting.

Students also enjoyed the company of the players to understand how they focus through those topics themselves, with opportunities to pose questions to the players on the course material.

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Students studying the course’s dual diploma also had the opportunity to hear from the senior executive of the Richmond Football Club, with CEO Brendon Gale, and Football General Managers, Blair Hartley (Football Talent), and Tim Livingstone (Football Performance) sharing their roles and insights with students online.

The presentations from some of the AFL’s most successful administrators would support the students’ sports development and leadership management units. Sports science, strength and conditioning professionals, athletes and careers counsellors have also engaged with students.

“Although we’re all facing challenging circumstances, we are so pleased with how we’ve been able to deliver this year’s course so far,” Damien Villarosa, Richmond’s Head of Education and Training said.

“For the students to hear first-hand from successful Richmond players and staff is incredibly interesting, but also very beneficial for their learning, and a unique opportunity.

“We’re also very grateful for the players and staff to support the students’ learning, they’ve been so generous with their time.”

This year’s cohort will also have the opportunity to participate in simulated placements to obtain virtual industry placement experience with key industry leaders at Richmond, and other leading external sporting organisations. The two-week internships will support the students’ development in becoming the next generation of industry leaders.

RISL is also hosting online information sessions for potential students in 2021, and will endeavour to continue to be adaptable to the challenges being faced in the community.

To register for an upcoming information session, click here.