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Code of Conduct & Good Practise

for Coaches

Football and Young People

Football, like all sports, provides an excellent pathway for children and young people to learn new skills, become more confident and maximise  their  own  potential. Through  their  participation, they can learn and develop life skills, have fun and enjoyment, make friends and experience life in a way that can enhance their personal growth throughout their lives.

People become involved in football for young people for a variety of different reasons. They come from a variety of sporting backgrounds and take on various roles within clubs and other football organisations. Yet irrespective of their role or responsibility, they all share the common goal of providing football opportunities for young people.
Parents, coaches and administrators all have an important role to play in promoting good practice in children’s sport. They should have, as their first priority, the children’s safety and enjoyment of the sport.

Drogheda Boys want football to be safe, we want football to be fun and want to ensure that no matter what level of the game young people are involved in, that it takes place in the spirit of ‘FAIR PLAY’.

Fair play is the guiding principle of the Irish Sport’s Council’s Code of Ethics as well as Drogheda Boys Code of Ethics and Good Practice programme which is designed to provide guidance for those working with young people in football. It outlines the type of issues that need to be discussed and addressed to provide the safest and most enjoyable environment not only for young people but also the coaches and volunteers involved.

Focusing on individual participants’ needs encourages young people to achieve and demonstrate enjoyment, equality and fair play. Through this they will come to realise that standards of behaviour are equally as important as sports performance.


In taking this approach children are encouraged to:

• Do their best – put in their best effort.

• Improve and develop their skills.

• Make friends.

• Play by the rules.

• Appreciate/accept everyone in the group, regardless of ability, race, religion, gender etc

Player Centric Approach


Coaches need to be aware of why children want to play soccer. They want to learn new skills, make new friends, be part of a group, to win and be successful, experience challenges, excitement and action.

While winning is important, it must be remembered that winning at all costs does not meet the needs of players. Results are not necessarily a good indicator of coaching effectiveness or ability, the improvement level of players and their level of enjoyment is.

Coaches should aim to provide a safe and enjoyable environment where children and young people are placed at the centre of all activities,

In promoting good practice and creating a child/player centred approach coaches should:


• Act as good role models.

• Encourage and be positive during sessions so that players leave with a sense of achievement.

• Set challenging, realistic but achievable goals.

• Plan and prepare each session appropriately and ensure proper levels of supervision.

• Ensure that all activities are inclusive and allow all players to participate in an enjoyable way.

• Put the welfare and enjoyment of players first and strike a balance between this and winning or achieving results.

• Enforce the principles of fair play treating each player equally, with dignity and respect and ensure that all players play within the rules.

• Be aware of the developmental stages and needs of players.

• Avoid over training and over emphasis on competition.

• Involve parents/guardians and other club members in what we do.

• Be qualified and up to date with the latest coaching knowledge and skill.


Best Practice


In keeping children and young people at the forefront of planning and practice, coaches can be confident that participants will enjoy their football experiences and that their actions are regarded as safe and in keeping with the principle that the welfare of children is of paramount consideration.

Coaches are given a position of trust by parents/guardians and players, and should show the highest standards of behaviour whilst in the company of under age players.

It is important that coaches follow an agreed code of good practice and parents/club officials are satisfied that coaches are suitable to lead the activities undertaken.

It is important to note that in adhering to these guidelines we ensure not only a safe environment for children but also a safe environment in which coaches and volunteers can operate.

Coaches / Volunteers should Not:

•  Exert undue influence over a participant in order to obtain personal benefit or reward.

• Share a room with a young person alone on away trips.

• Engage in rough physical games, sexually provocative games or allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any kind, and/or make sexually suggestive comments about or to a child.

• Use any form of corporal punishment or physical force on a young person.

• Take measurements or engage in certain types of fitness testing without the presence of another adult.

• Undertake any form of therapy (hypnosis etc.) in the training of young people.

Most coaches work in an environment where it is recognised that, in a sporting context, certain types of coaching require a ‘hands on approach’, i.e., it may be necessary to support a participant in order to physically demonstrate a particular technique. This should only occur when necessary and in an open and appropriate way with the knowledge, permission and full understanding of the participant concerned and his/her parents/guardians.

Where possible, coaches/volunteers should avoid:

• Spending excessive amounts of time with children away from others.

• Taking sessions alone (always employ “Two Deep” supervision).

• Taking children to their homes.

• Taking children on journeys alone in their care

Match Day


Players will tend to be excited and full of energy  on match day. It is important for the coaches to have a regular match day routine in place to ensure a safe environment is created for the players enjoy themselves and have fun.

In this respect managers / coaches should:

• Arrive early, at least 20/30 minutes prior to the players arrival.

• Put in place Don’t Cross the Line equipment around the pitch.

• Greet players as they arrive in a friendly manner.

• Ensure all players wear club gear.

• Encourage players to have fun and enjoy themselves.

• Insist on FAIR PLAY • Provide all players with fair playing time

• Collect all club equipment and ensure it is put away after the game.

• Collect jerseys and ensure they are washed for the following game.

• Report any disciplinary issues/injury arising from the game to the club secretary, including yellow and red cards.

• Send results to the fixture secretary after the game.

• Send match report/photos to the club PRO.



Coaches have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the players with whom they work as far as possible within the limits of their control. Therefore, coaches should seek to create a safe and enjoyable environment in which to play and train.

In this respect:

• Regular safety checks should be carried out in relation to premises, training facilities and equipment.

• Appropriate safety rules should be adopted and implemented.

• Parents/guardians should be informed of the starting and finishing times of training sessions and matches.

• A first aid kit should be available at all training sessions /matches and injuries should be recorded, with a note of action taken in relation to each one. Never play injured players.

• Parents/Guardians should be notified of injuries/illness which their children incur while participating in any football activity a positive approach to the involvement of children in sport.

FAIreland has amended its rules to include a child protection element in line with Children First (Department of Health & Children), the Irish Sports Council’s Code of Ethics & Good Practice and relevant recent child welfare legislation.

Specifically coaches/volunteers are required to operate within these recommended codes of conduct and best practice.

"Sport for young people is about Fun and Participation, Best Effort and Fair Play in a safe environment"

In promoting “Sport for Fun” coaches should:

•  Encourage participation and fun.

• Promote the development of skills as opposed to winning at all costs.

• Emphasise and praise effort.

• Act as a good role model.

• Actively discourage children/young players from abusing referees, officials, team mates or opponents (take off offending players).

• Insist on FAIR PLAY (take off offending players).

• Be realistic with your expectations.

• Be aware of children’s feelings.

• Teach players to respect different cultures.

Children in soccer are entitled to:

• Be safe.

• Be treated with dignity, sensitivity and respect.

• Participate in football on an equal basis, appropriate to their ability and stage of development.

• Be happy, have fun and enjoy football.

• Make a complaint in an appropriate way and have it dealt with through a proper and effective complaints procedure.

• Be afforded appropriate confidentiality.

• Be listened to and to be believed.

• Have a voice in the running of the club.

Children should also be encouraged to realise that they also have responsibilities to treat other children, referees, fellow players, coaches and volunteers with the same degree of fairness and respect. 


In regard players should undertake to:

• Play fairly, do their best and have fun.

• Make high standards of Fair Play the standard others want to follow.

• Respect opponents, they are not the enemy, they are partners in a sporting event.

• Shake hands before and after the match, whoever wins.

• Give opponents a hand if they are injured, put the ball out of play so they can get attention.

• Accept apologies from opponents when they are offered.

• Respect fellow team members and support them both when they do well and when things go wrong.

• Treat players from minority groups with the same respect you show other people.

• Be modest in victory and be gracious in defeat “BE A SPORT”.

• Approach the club Children’s Officer with any questions or concerns they might have. Coaches and parents should encourage children to speak out and support them in doing so.


Players should not:

• Cheat.

• Use abusive language, or argue with, the referee, officials, team mates or opponents.

• Use violence, use physical contact only when it is allowed within the rules.

• Bully.

• Tell lies about adults or other players.

• Spread rumours.

• Take banned substances to improve performance.

• Keep secrets about any person who may have caused them harm.


Disciplinary Committee

The role of the Drogheda Boys Disciplinary Committee is to review disciplinary matters arising from weekend games, status of player playing time, cancellation of fixtures, and player and coach discipline.


The committee will be responsible for undertaking Disciplinary Hearings and impose appropriate sanctions in line with the Drogheda Boys Code of Practice.


Any incident which occurs during training or on match day, which you believe might be cause for further investigation by Drogheda Boys, an opposing club, or the league, please report the incident to the Club Secretary. Yellow and Red cards must be reported to the Club Secretary on the day of the game. Players will be responsible for payment of any fines received for straight red cards, which is in line with Club Rules.

Responsibility to Report

Any person,  who has concerns about a child’s welfare or who suspects that a child is being abused, or is at risk of abuse, should raise their concern with the Chairperson of the Club.


If the Chairperson is unsure about whether reasonable grounds for concern exist he/she can informally consult with the local Tusla Health Board duty social worker to help define whether or not reasonable grounds for concern exist. Additionally, the Child Welfare Unit in the FAI can provide excellent advice to all clubs should such a matter occur. 


In cases of emergency where a child appears to be at immediate and serious risk and the duty social worker is not contactable, call the Gardai. 

Under no circumstances should a child be left in a dangerous situation pending intervention by the Statutory Authorities. 

Drogheda Boys has clear procedures for responding to reports or concerns relating to the safety and welfare of children.


Mobile Phones


Mobile phones are often given to children for security, enabling parents to keep in touch and make sure they are safe.

However such technology has also allowed an increase in direct personal contact with young people, in some cases used to cross personal boundaries and cause harm. Within clubs there is a need to encourage responsible and secure use of mobile phones. 


In this respect Coaches are advised to: 


• Use group texts for communication among athletes and teams and inform parents of this at the start of the season. 

• It is not appropriate to have constant communication for individual athletes.

• Don’t use the phone in certain locations; inappropriate use of your camera phone may cause upset or offence to another person, e.g. changing rooms.

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