Club Code of Practice for Youth in Sport


Shannon Gaels GAA

Club Code of Best Practice for Youth in Sport.

1.      Policy Statement

Shannon Gaels is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all young people who wish to participate in our Gaelic Games and activities. The aim of this policy is to protect young people in our club from any harm or abuse, discrimination or degrading treatment and  to ensure their rights, wishes and feelings are respected.

Young players are entitled to:-


  • Be safe and feel safe.
  • Have fun and experience a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment.
  • 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 a level at which they feel comfortable.
  • Be listened to.
  • Make their concerns known and have them dealt with in an appropriate manner.
  • Be protected from abuse.


Shannon Gaels GAA Recognises that all children have the right to be protected from harm and will:-


  • Respond swiftly and appropriately to protect the welfare of children who participate in our games and related activities.
  • Ensure that all allegations of abuse of young people are confidentially dealt with in accordance the GAA Guidelines for Dealing with Allegations of Abuse (Fourth Edition 2009).
  • Ensure all players including young players are registered under the GAA Insurance/Injury scheme.
  • Provide parents and children with the opportunity to voice any concerns they may have.
  • Appoint a Children’s Officer in our club.
  • Ensure all Club Members complete a membership form, whereby they agree to abide by the  rules of the Shannon Gaels Club and the GAA in general including relevant codes and policies
  • Ensure that all our coaches and volunteers are aware of and adhere to the GAA Code of Best Practice in Youth Sport and the Code of Ethics.


All club members are expected to be fully aware of and adhere to the GAA Code of Best Practice for Youth in Sport available at and the GAA Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport at


2.      Dignity and Rights of Young People

It is important that all young players are valued and treated with the highest level of respect and the personal dignity and physical integrity of a young person is of paramount importance. The participation of young people in sport should provide them with a period in their life that enables then to have fun, make friends and present them with an opportunity to improve their levels of skill.  Shannon Gaels GAA will ensure that a child and youth centred approach is adopted by everyone in the Club involved in the promotion and development of Gaelic Games at underage level. This Code of Best Practice also applies to vulnerable adults who are defined as having special needs.


3.      Code of Behaviour for all persons working with young people

This Code of Behaviour complements the Code of  Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport and  addresses the appropriate levels of behaviour, practice and conduct required from our young  players,  coaches etc.(Please see appendix 1 for details).


4.      Young People and the Playing of our Games

The GAA is committed to maximising participation, optimising playing standards and ensuring that Players’ needs are catered for in a balanced and holistic way. A series  of Games Opportunities and Skill Development Activities primed to ensure that young people Play and Stay with the GAA are set out at


5.      Guidelines on the use of photographic images and maintaining web sites in GAA clubs

The Shannon Gaels GAA Club Website Acceptable Use Policy and Guidelines on the use of Photographic Images are available at


6.      Alcohol & Substance Abuse Prevention Programme

The Shannon Gaels GAA Alcohols and Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Policy is available at


7.      The Club Children’s Officer

The Club Children’s Officer is the link between the children/young people in the Club and the adults.  It is the responsibility of  the Children’s Officer to regularly report to their Club Committee on how Club policy and procedures impact on the welfare and safeguarding of under age players and their coaches. The Childrens Officer will be responsible for  dealing with any concerns about the protection of children in the Club. The Shannon Gaels Children’s Officer is Anne Fitzpatrck, Eshveagh, Glangevlin, Co. Cavan. Telephone 087-0530880.


8.      Useful references



Appendix 1 – Appropriate levels of behaviour, practice and conduct for Young Players & Coaches.


YOUNG PLAYERS should always:


  • Play fairly, do their best and enjoy themselves.
  • Respect fellow team members regardless of  ability, ethnic origin, cultural background or  religion
  • Support fellow team members whether they do  well or not so well.
  • Represent their team, their club and their family  with pride and dignity.
  • Respect all coaches, mentors, officials and their opponents.
  • Be gracious in defeat and modest in victory.
  • Shake hands before and after the game  irrespective of the result.
  • Inform their coach/mentor/manager when they  are unavailable for training and games.
  • Talk to the Club Children’s Officer with any  concerns or questions they may have.
  • Adhere to acceptable standards of behaviour and their Club’s Code of Discipline.
  • Tell somebody else if they or others have been  harmed in any way.
  • Take due care of club equipment.


YOUNG PLAYERS should not:


  • Cheat – always play by the rules.
  • Shout at or argue with an official, team mates  or  opponents or use violence
  • Use unfair or bullying tactics to gain advantage or  isolate other players.
  • Spread rumours.
  • Tell lies about adults or other young people.
  • Play or train if they feel unwell or are injured.
  • Use unacceptable language or racial and/or sectarian references.



Coaches, Mentors and Trainer should


  • Ensure that young people and children benefit significantly from playing GAA games by providing a positive, healthy and encouraging ethos for all.
  • In developing the skills levels of every player always encourage enjoyment, fun and participation in our games and activities.
  • Always remember that they  are a role model for the players in their care
  • Maintain a child centred approach at all times
  • Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every person and treat each one equally,
  • Be positive during coaching sessions and games so that participants always leave with a sense of achievement and an increased level of self-estee
  • Emphasise participation for all while avoiding excessive training and competition
  • Ensure that all physical contact is appropriate and has the permission or understanding of the young person
  • Don’t shout at or lecture players or reprimand/ridicule them when they make a mistake.
  • Never use foul language or provocative language/gestures to a player, opponent or match official.
  • Lead by example, adhere to the Club Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ASAP) Policy and do not smoke or drink alcohol while young players are in your care.
  • Encourage players to respect and accept the judgement of match officials and promote Fair Play.
  • Encourage parents to become involved in Club Activities wherever possible


Best Practice for Coaches


  • Ensure that all players are suitably and safely attired to play their chosen sport and as team coach be punctual and properly attired.
  • Encourage parents/guardians to play an active role in organising and assisting various activities for your teams and your club.
  • Text communication with all young players should be via the Club Secretary and the Group Text system. All messages will issue to a parent or guardian and also the player. If coaches need to contact players directly in exceptional cases then messages should be sent to the player and their parent or guardian. Parental permission will be requested on an annual basis with regard to contacting underage players via mobile phone when membership forms are being completed.
  • Make adequate provision for First Aid services and ensure the health and well being of all players. Do not encourage or permit players to play while injured.


Full details of appropriate levels of behaviour, practice and conduct for all club members can be found at