Code of Behaviour

Code of Behaviour

The Gaelic Athletic Association in its Official Guide containing the Constitution and Rules of the association, outlines its aims and ethos in relation to Codes of Behaviour and Safeguarding of Children/Young People (under 18 years of age). In order to enact these aims, the GAA in conjunction with the other Gaelic games associations, has produced a comprehensive guide called Our Games-Our Code, Code of Best Practice in Youth Sport. This contains Codes of Behaviour for (1) Young Players, (2) Coaches, Mentors and Trainers, (3) Parents/Guardians, (4) Supporters and (5) Referees. Inniscarra GAA Club fully supports and endorses this code and hereunder are the various Codes of Behaviour as outlined in that policy document.

Young Players

Young Players can benefit greatly from sports in terms of personal development and enjoyment. Our players are encouraged to realise that as a result of their participation in our Gaelic Games that they also have a responsibility to treat other players and officials with fairness and respect. With rights there will always be responsibilities.

Young Players, and those who work with them in our Associations are required to sign up and abide by this Code of Behaviour and to any other policies or codes in your Club or National Governing Body.


- Be safe and feel safe.

- Have fun and experience a sense of enjoyment and fulfilment.

- Be treated with respect, dignity and sensitivity.

- Comment and make suggestions in a constructive manner.

- Be afforded appropriate confidentiality.

- Participate in games and competitions at levels with which they feel comfortable.

- Make their concerns known and have them dealt with in an appropriate manner.

- Be protected from abuse.

- Be listened to.


- Play fairly, do their best and enjoy themselves.

- Respect fellow team members regardless of ability, cultural or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.

- Support fellow team members regardless of whether they do well or not.

- Represent their team, their Club and their family with pride and dignity.

- Respect all Coaches, Officials and their opponents.

- Be gracious in defeat and modest in victory.

- Shake hands before and after a game as part of the Give Respect Get Respect initiative,

irrespective of the result.

- Inform their Coach/Mentor/Manager in advance if they are unavailable for training and games.

- Take due care of Club equipment.

- Know that it is acceptable to talk to the Club Childrens Officer with any concerns or questions they may have.

- Adhere to acceptable standards of behaviour and their Clubs Code of Discipline.

- Tell somebody else if they or others have been harmed in any way.


- Never cheat and always play by the rules.

- Never shout at or argue with a games official, with their Coach, their team mates or opponents and should never use violence.

- Never use unfair or bullying tactics to gain advantage or isolate other players.

- Never spread rumours.

- Never tell lies about adults or other young people.

- Never play or train if they feel unwell or are injured.

- Never use unacceptable language or racial and/or sectarian references to an opponent, a fellow player or official by words, deeds or gesture.

- Never consume non-prescribed drugs or performance enhancing supplements

 Coaches, Mentors and Trainers

All Coaches, Mentors and Trainers (referred to hereafter as Coaches) should ensure that young people and children benefit significantly from our games by promoting a positive, healthy and participatory approach in our work with underage players. In developing the skills levels of every player, Coaches should always encourage enjoyment and fun while ensuring meaningful participation in our games and activities. Coaches should always remember that they are role models for the players in their care.


All Coaches working with young people and children are required to be suitable for their chosen role(s), and should be appropriately trained, qualified and supported to fulfil such roles. All persons working or volunteering for such roles are required to undertake agreed vetting and background Police checks within the jurisdiction in which they work and to attend coaching and training courses relevant to their roles. All such Coaches must attend relevant child welfare and protection training as provided or instructed by their Governing body and must also complete a basic coach education qualification.


- Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every person.

- Treat each person equally regardless of age, gender, ability, ethnic origin, cultural background or religion.

- Be positive during coaching sessions, games and other activities so that underage players always leave with a sense of achievement and an increased level of self-esteem.

- Recognise the development needs and capacity of all underage players, regardless of their ability, by emphasising participation for all while avoiding excessive training and competition. Skills development and personal satisfaction should have priority over competition when working with underage players.

- Develop an understanding of relevant coaching methods and ensure that they have the

appropriate level of coaching accreditation.

- Do not equate losing with failure and do not develop a preoccupation with medals and trophies. The level of improvement made by underage players is the best indicator of effective coaching.

*Implement the Inniscarra Gaa Juvenile Club coaching plan and 'The Scarra Way'


- Never use foul language or provocative language/gestures to a player, opponent or match official.

- Only enter the field of play with the Referees permission.

- Do not question a Referees decisions or integrity.

- Encourage players to respect and accept the judgement of match officials.

- Promote Fair Play and encourage all players and fellow officials to always play by the rules of the game.

- Do not encourage or threaten a player by deed or gesture to act in any unacceptable manner towards an opponent, fellow player or official.

- Promote the RESPECT campaign amongst your players, fellow coaches, parents and supporters.

- Do not smoke while working with underage players.

- Do not consume alcohol or non-prescribed drugs immediately prior to or while underage players are in your care.

- Encourage parents to become involved in your team and Club activities wherever possible.


- Develop an appropriate working relationship with children based on mutual trust and respect.

- Challenge Bullying in any form whether physical or emotional. Bullying is not acceptable behaviour be it from a young person, coach, parent/guardian, spectator or match official.

- Dont shout at or lecture players or reprimand/ridicule them when they make a mistake. Children learn best through trial and error. Children and young people should not be afraid to risk error so as to learn.

- The use of any form of physical punishment is prohibited as is any form of physical response to misbehaviour, unless it is by way of restraint.

- Avoid incidents of horse play or role play or telling jokes etc. that could be misinterpreted.

- Never undertake any form of therapy or hypnosis, in the training of children.

- Never encourage players to consume non-prescribed drugs or take performance enhancing



Some activities may require coaches to come into physical contact with underage players in the course of their duties. However, coaches should;

- Avoid taking coaching sessions on your own.

- Only deliver one to one coaching, if deemed necessary, within a group setting.

- Avoid unnecessary physical contact with an underage player and never engage in inappropriate touching of a player.

- Be aware that any necessary contact should be determined by the age and development of the player and should only take place with the permission and understanding of the player and in an open environment in the context of developing a players skills and abilities.


- Ensure that all of your players are suitably and safely attired to play their chosen sport. e.g. helmets (Hurling and Camogie), goggles (Handball), shin guards, gum shields (Football).

- As a coach always be punctual and properly attired.

- Be accompanied by at least one other adult at coaching sessions, games and in underage team dressing rooms.

- Set realistic but achievable performance goals for your players and teams.

- Keep a record of attendance at training and at games by both players and coaches.

- Rotate the team captaincy and the method used for selecting teams so that the same children are not always selected to the exclusion of others.

- Keep a record of any injuries and actions subsequently taken. Ensure that another official referee/team mentor is present when a player is being attended to and can corroborate the relevant details.

- Make adequate provision for First Aid services.

- Do not encourage or permit players to play while injured.

- Be aware of any special medical or dietary requirements of players as indicated on the medical consent/registration forms or as informed by parents/guardians.

- Ensure that all dressing rooms and the general areas that are occupied by your players and other Club personnel, prior to, during or immediately following the completion of any match are kept clean and are not damaged in any way.

- Be willing to keep the necessary and emergency medication of players in a safe and accessible place in accordance with the wishes and permission of the parents/guardians.

- Do not administer medication or medical aid unless you are willing to do so and have received the necessary training to administer such aid.

- Use mobile phones, if deemed appropriate, only via a group text or email system for

communicating with the parents/guardians of players. Any exception to this form of group texting can only be proceeded with following permission from parents/guardians.

- Do not communicate individually by text/email with underage players.

- Do not engage in communications with underage players via social network sites.

- Encourage parents/guardians to play an active role in organising and assisting various activities for your teams and your Club.

- If it is necessary to transport a child/young person in your car, ensure that they are seated in a rear seat with seat belts securely fastened and that all drivers are adequately insured.

- With the exception of their own child a coach should not transport a child alone, except in

emergency or exceptional circumstances.

It is recommended that Coaches, Parents/Guardians sign this Code of Behaviour and present the signed document, as a commitment of its implementation, to their Club Childrens Officer.


Parents/Guardians have an influential role to play in assisting and encouraging their children to fully participate in Gaelic Games, whether by playing our games or attending training or coaching sessions. In common with Coaches and Club personnel the Parents/Guardians of underage players should act as role models for their children as they participate in Gaelic Games.


- Always play by the rules.

- Improve their skills levels.

- Appreciate everybody on their team, regardless of ability.

- Maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle with regard to exercise, food, rest and play. Advice may be sought if necessary from Club officials on this issue.


- Adopt a positive attitude to their childrens participation in our games.

- Respect officials decisions and encourage children to do likewise.

- Do not exert undue pressure on your child.

- Never admonish your own child or any other child for their standard of play.

- Be realistic in their expectations.

- Show approval for effort, not just results.

- Avoid asking a child or young person, (i) How much did you score today or What did you win by or What did you lose by. Ask them, Did they enjoy themselves.

- Never embarrass a child or use sarcastic remarks towards a player.

- Applaud good play from all teams.

- Do not criticise playing performances. Identify how improvements may be made.

- Do not seek to unfairly affect a game or player.

- Do not enter the field of play unless specifically invited to do so by an official in charge.


- Complete and return the registration/permission and medical consent forms for their childs

participation in the Club.

- Inform the Coaches, and any other relevant Club personnel, of any changes in their childs medical or dietary requirements prior to coaching sessions, games or other activities.

- Ensure that their child punctually attends coaching sessions/games or other activities.

- Provide their child with adequate clothing and equipment as may be required for the playing of our games including for example helmets, shin guards, gum shields etc.

- Ensure that the nutrition/hydration and hygiene needs of their child are met.

- Never encourage your child to consume non-prescribed drugs or take performance enhancing supplements.

- Listen to what their child may have to say.

- Show approval whether the team wins, loses or draws a game.

- Never attempt to meet their own needs and aspirations for success and achievement through their childrens participation in games.


- Showing appreciation to volunteers, coaches and Club officials.

- Attending training and games on a regular basis.

- Assisting in the organising of Club activities and events as requested.

- Respecting the rights, dignity and worth of every person and by treating each one equally

regardless of age, gender, ability, ethnic origin, cultural background or religion.

- Not entering team dressing rooms unless deemed necessary by the team coach (es) so as to

protect the privacy of other underage players.


- Know their child is safe and to make a complaint if they believe that their childs safety is in any way compromised.

- Be informed of problems/concerns relating to their child.

- Be informed if their child gets injured.

- Complain if they have concerns about the standard of coaching.

- Have a say in relation to decisions being made within the Club.


Young Players are eager to enjoy and benefit from the support they receive from parents, guardians, friends and other members of the Club who attend our games as spectators and supporters. Active, loyal and well behaved supporters are always welcome to attend and support our games but should be aware that their conduct will reflect upon the team, players and Clubs that they support and represent. Fellow supporters have a responsibility to ensure that all spectators conduct themselves in an acceptable and well behaved manner at all times, when attending our games and competitions. Unacceptable conduct by supporters should be reported to stadium stewards or officials in charge. Supporters should realise and consider that Young Players are encouraged to participate in Gaelic Games so that they may enjoy themselves while also improving their skills levels.


- Applauding good performance and efforts from your Clubs players and from your opponents, regardless of the result.

- Condemning the use of violence in any form, be it by fellow spectators, coaches, officials or players.

- Encouraging players to participate according to the rules and the referees decisions.

- Demonstrating appropriate behaviour by not using foul language or harassing players, coaches or officials.

- Not entering the field of play, before, during or after a game, unless specifically invited to do so by an official in charge.

- Respecting the decisions of all officials.

- Never ridiculing or scolding a player for making a mistake during games or competitions.

- Showing respect to your Club’s opponents. Without them there would be no games or


- Upholding the principles of FAIR PLAY and RESPECT for all.


Throughout this Code of Behaviour emphasis has been placed on the need to co-operate with and facilitate those who organise and deliver our games and activities. Referees are key people in the delivery of our games and should be respected and assisted in their roles.

Referees are conscious of the fact that they are instrumental in ensuring our games are played in a sporting manner in accordance with the rules of the game. Players, Coaches, Mentors, Parents/Guardians and other Club personnel have a key role to play in the

delivery of this aspect of our Gaelic Games particularly when working with underage players. The manner in which we accept the role, authority and decisions of a Referee will naturally be scrutinised very closely by our underage players.


- Abide fully with the Code of Best Practice in Youth Sport: Our Games and Our Code

- Apply the playing rules on an impartial and consistent basis.

- Act with integrity and objectivity in all games.

- Communicate decisions to players and team officials in an effective and constructive manner.

- Deal with dissent firmly and fairly.

- Work as a team with other match officials.

- Maintain composure regardless of the circumstances.

- Avail of assessments and supports to improve performance.

- Uphold 'Give Respect and Get Respect' initiative at all levels.

Players, Coaches, Supporters, Parents/Guardians and other Club personnel should recognise the pivotal role that Referees play in our underage games and should support them at all times when fulfilling their roles.

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