A coach’s primary role is to provide a safe and healthy environment for the children.
Coaches can do this by following this simple checklist for basic safety. Be sure to devote part of the team’s first training and practice to basic rules.
Simple Checklist for Basic Safety
Insist on Bringing Proper Gear
- Shin guards are mandatory equipment. Players must wear shin guards under their socks.
- Do not allow kids to play soccer while wearing jewelry or watches.
- Insist that kids bring filled water bottles to every game and practice.
Be Prepared for Injuries
However, there’s no avoiding injury when it comes to playing sports. Again, be safe and prepared in the event of an injury to a player.
- Have a properly stocked first aid kit, including ice or ice packs.
- Take first aid courses, or better yet, advanced first aid.
- Prevent many injuries/sprains by teaching, and allowing time for warm-ups and cool downs.
- Don’t take chances; kids who are injured should be removed from the field. Injuries should never be "worked out" or "run off."
- Teach team parents the basics of R.I.C.E. for minor injuries:
- Rest: Stop all activity that would further aggravate the injury.
- Ice: Use ice continuously for the first 15 minutes then 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off for the first 24 hours.
- Compression: To prevent swelling wrap the injury with an elastic bandage.
- Elevation: If possible raise the injured body part above heart level.
- RICE should be employed for 24 to 48 hours depending on the severity of the injury.
- Discourage parents from seeking a player’s early return from an injury.
Adequate hydration is critical in order for players to feel and perform well.
- Kids dehydrate easier than adults.
- Thirst is not a good indicator of the need for fluids. Often kids don’t feel thirsty until after they are dehydrated.
- Kids should drink fluids frequently, and in small amounts, especially in hot or humid weather.
- Water, sports drinks and diluted fruit juices are all good choices for fluid replacement.
- Care should be taken to insure that kids do not contaminate common drinking containers by putting their hands into water containers to scoop out ice or by passing around a common drinking bottle.
- NEVER withhold fluids from kids; thirst won’t make them tough, it will just endanger them.
- Do not tell kids to just wet their whistle or take a sip!
Practice Goal Safety
- Goals must be anchored to prevent them from being blown or pulled over.
- Absolutely no swinging or climbing on goals. Never allow kids to move a portable goal.
- Keep benches at least five yards away from sidelines.
- Use corner flags made with flexible rods.
- Check fields before you play. Look for broken glass, storm drains, raised sprinkler heads, holes, protruding bolts, hooks or nails on goal posts or crossbars - anything that can cause injury.
- Keep warm-up areas clear of gear bags and other items players might trip over.