Footy star ditches footy boots for surprise new role
Former footy hardman Barry Hall has become a qualified "mind mentor''.
The AFL premiership captain and boxer has turned from physical tormentor to life coach after studying skills he believes can help men with anxiety, stress and depression turn their lives around.
The former Sydney, Western Bulldogs and St Kilda forward said modern men faced more mental demons than ever, especially after the COVID-19 crisis and with Christmas fast approaching.
And he wanted to teach men facing problems he once endured to deal with their emotions and pressures.
"I enjoy doing this stuff and I've been through a bit of s--t myself but I've seen the light a little bit so I'd like to help people with their own battles,'' he said.
Hall will run a six week "Blokes Anxiety Buster'' course online to teach men how to understand their feelings.
"It's not all doom and gloom or crying for six weeks, it's understanding why you get the issues to start with and then to disarm the feeling you get from them,'' he said.
"We give them some tools to be able to disarm the feelings before they spiral out of control.''
Hall told the Herald Sun he had become a better person, husband and father since applying the same techniques and felt perfectly suited to help others.
"Not anybody can be a mind mentor, you can't just say I'm going to get up tomorrow and be one,'' he said.
"The hat has got to fit a bit and being an elite footballer for a long time you do learn a lot about the mind.
"Yes, you have your issues in the past, but you fix them, mend them and understand them now, so you can really help other people.''
A decade ago, Hall said he would have preached a "harden up'' mantra but that attitude was now outdated and unhelpful.
"Everyone has got their battles and everybody has got their own different pressures and anxiety and depression levels,'' he said.
"Be vulnerable, work out why you are feeling that way and try and fix it.
"It's a weight off your shoulders but you need to invest in yourself.''
He compared helping men with their mental health with guiding players on the footy field.
"When I was the captain of a football club I used to love helping younger players and I would get a little of a buzz out of it, a bit of reward,'' he said.
"I think I can get a sense of that through this mind stuff because it's helped me quite a bit and if I can help others with it might give me that sense I used to love during my football days.''
Originally published as Barry Hall ditches footy boots for surprise new role