Keeping things safe

Softballer
Always ensure that players are wearing the appropriate safety equipment before you start an activity

Good coaching practices to reduce risk

  • plan all coaching sessions
  • follow child protection guidelines
  • conduct pre-participation screening using a medical history form (see example form in the coaching templates)
  • ensure participants warm up prior to activity
  • don’t mismatch participants (consider size/strength, not age)
  • clearly establish the rules for behaviour and activities
  • ensure the safety of playing areas, facilities and equipment
  • require participants to use protective devices
  • adapt activities for environmental conditions (for example, hot, humid, or cold, wet conditions)
  • cater for individual needs

Tips for ensuring the safety of playing areas

Ensure that:

  • the playing area is level, firm and free from obstructions (for example, holes or exposed sprinkler heads)
  • permanent fixtures such as goal posts are padded, flexible and highly visible
  • corner posts and other field posts cannot injure participants on contact (these should be made of cardboard or other ‘non-threatening’ material)
  • there is adequate lighting if playing at night
  • there is adequate matting where necessary (for example, gymnastics, high jump)
  • perimeter fences are well back from the playing area
  • spectators are kept well away from the playing area

Tips for ensuring the safety of protective equipment

Check that protective equipment:

  • is worn by participants during training and competition
  • fits the participant correctly
  • is regularly checked and maintained
  • is specific and appropriate for the sport, size and age of the participant
  • is being used according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and the recommendations of the governing sporting body

Tips for ensuring the safety of environmental conditions

In hot or humid conditions:

  • Encourage participants to wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured clothing made from a natural fibre (for example, cotton).
  • Avoid intense activity in hot or humid conditions and monitor participants carefully for signs of heat illness.
  • Help participants avoid sunburn by encouraging them to slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat.
  • Encourage participants to drink plenty of fluid before the activity begins and schedule regular drink breaks during the activity

In cold and/or wet conditions:

  • Encourage participants to wear clothing appropriate for cold conditions (for example, dress in layers to trap heat, wear gloves and a hat to reduce heat loss).
  • Avoid participants standing exposed to the cold for long periods.
  • Encourage participants to change wet clothing as soon as practicable.
  • Alternative venues (for example, indoors) should also be considered, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants.
  • Long breaks will cause the body to cool down, so participants should be encouraged to wear warm clothing. Coaches should plan training sessions to avoid long breaks. Another warm-up period may be needed if long rest periods cannot be avoided

 

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