Code for Coaches

Coaches In keeping children and young people at the forefront of planning and practice, our 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 safety and welfare of children is of paramount consideration.

Our Coaches are given a position of trust by parents/guardians and players, and are expected to operate to the highest standards of behaviour whilst in the company of underage players (under 18 years of age). Our Coaches are also expected not to engage in any activity that could reasonably be viewed as bringing the Club or football in general into disrepute.

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

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.

Coaches must realise that certain situations or friendly actions could be misinterpreted, not only by the player, but by outsiders motivated by jealousy, dislike or mistrust and could lead to allegations of sexual misconduct or impropriety. Therefore Coaches should be aware of, and avoid all situations conducive to risk.

Where possible, our Coaches 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.

Our Coaches should never:

  • 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


Coaches have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all players 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. Any problems should be brought to the attention of the Committee
  • Appropriate safety rules should be adopted and implemented and protective equipment should be used in any contact training session 
  • 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 
  • Parents/Guardians should be notified of injuries/illness which their children incur while participating in any football activity 
  • Never play injured players.

Code for Coaches

  • The Coach is the first Club point of contact for players and parents/guardians
  • Remember that as a Coach of an “age grade team” you are to act in “loco parentis” and to that extent your duty of care is more onerous than that of a Coach to an adult team
  • Lead by example – young people need a Coach whom they respect 
  • Be generous with your praise when it is deserved. Never ridicule or shout at players for making mistakes or losing a match 
  • Teach your players that the Laws of the Game are mutual agreements which no one should evade or break 
  • Be reasonable in your demands on the players’ time, energy and enthusiasm
  • Ensure that all players participate in matches 
  • Remember that young players play for fun and enjoyment and that skill learning and playing for fun have priority over highly structured competition. Winning is not the only objective
  • Develop player and team respect for the ability of opponents, as well as for the judgement of referees and opposing Coaches
  • Insist on fair play and disciplined play. Do not tolerate foul play, fighting or foul language. Be prepared to take off an offending player
  • Encourage young players to develop basic skills and sportsmanship.
  • Avoid over specialisation in positional play during their formative years
  • Set realistic goals for the team and individual players and do not push young players into adult-like competitions 
  • Create a safe and enjoyable environment in which to train and play 
  • Do not over burden younger players with too much information 
  • Make a personal commitment to keep yourself informed on sound Coaching principles and methods, and on the principles of growth and development of young people
  • Be aware of the effect you have on growing children 
  • Never criticise the referee or his/her assistants during or after a match in front of players or spectators 
  • Always thank the match officials and if they have made decisions which require clarification, discuss the problems after the match
  • Ensure that proper equipment and facilities are available at all times 
  • Be responsible and ensure you uphold the ethos of the game, your Club and the FAI
  • Attend Coaching courses
  • Support the “Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport” and all policies regarding Children in Sport 
  • Ensure you and your players are proud of your team, Club and efforts during the season.