The Fair Play Codes
The RFU have developed the following Fair Play Codes for all players, volunteers, parents and spectators, which help remind all of us why we enjoy being part of this great game:
• The Partnership between Team Management and Parents
• The Good Coach’s code
• The Good Parent’s code
• The Good Young Player’s code
• The Good Spectator’s code
With rugby at all levels becoming so competitive and too often bringing with it a pervading culture of winning at all costs, it is vital that we do not forget the reasons why young players participate in and enjoy the game of Rugby Union. The idea of “fair play” should be a constant reference point for all those people involved in the mini and youth game (ie ages 6 – 18 years old). To lose sight of this would be detrimental to everyone.
Bracknell RFC fully supports the spirit behind these guidelines and the ethos that they engender within the game. These should be followed at every level within mini and youth as well as senior rugby.
The Partnership between Team Management and Parents
In Rugby Union the partnership between team management and parents is positively encouraged through:
• Providing a seasonal diary of the times and dates of training, matches and competitions.
• Agreeing issues relating to duty of care (e.g. responsibility for travelling to and from games).
• Encouraging parents to attend coaching sessions and games and making them aware that the “win at all costs” ethos is not accepted in Rugby Union.
• Ensuring that parents have realistic aspirations for their child and are aware of his/her strengths and weaknesses.
• Informing parents about specialist equipment that is required (e.g. gum shields), and from where it can be purchased.
• Ensuring parents are aware of what is acceptable touchline behaviour.
• And above all, encouraging parents to get involved in peripheral activities that make them feel they ‘belong’.
The Good Coach’s code
Young people come into Rugby Union for a variety of reasons; it is the duty of the coach to recognise this and stimulate continued participation. Coaches have a responsibility to create an environment where young people can realise their rugby potential in a safe and caring environment where the emphasis is on Fun, Enjoyment & Skill Development.
In Rugby Union coaches should:
• Appreciate the needs of the individual players before the needs of the coach.
• Be a positive role model – especially relating to how you treat others.
• Keep winning and losing in perspective – encourage all players to behave with dignity in all circumstances.
• Respect all referees and the decisions they make and ensure that the players recognise that they must do the same.
• Provide positive verbal feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner, to all players both during coaching sessions and games.
In Rugby Union coaches must:
• Recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment when coaching young players. Most learning is achieved through “doing.”
• Provide experiences which are matched to the young players’ age and ability, as well as their physical and mental development.
• Ensure all youngsters are coached in a safe environment – is there adequate first aid including qualified staff readily to hand?
• Avoid the overplaying of the best players by using a squad system, which gives everybody a satisfactory amount of playing time.
• Never allow a player to train or play when injured.
• Ensure good supervision of young players, both on and off the field.
• Recognise that young players should never be exposed to extremes of heat, cold, or unacceptable risk of injury.
• Recognise that it is illegal for young players under 18 to purchase alcohol or cigarettes.
• Ensure that their knowledge and coaching strategies are up to date and in line with RFU philosophy.
• Be aware of, and abide by, the RFU recommended procedures for taking young people on residential tours at home and abroad.
• Be aware of, and abide by, the policies and procedures outlined in the RFU child protection guidance booklet.
The Good Parent’s code
In Rugby Union coaches and managers both fully acknowledge that parents are an integral part of the partnership, which ensures that young players enjoy their involvement in the sport and experience an environment in which they can flourish.
In Rugby Union parents are encouraged to:
• Be familiar with the coaching and training programme in order that they can ensure that their child is fully involved and the coaches are aware of their availability.
• Be familiar with the teaching and coaching methods used by observing the sessions in which your child participates.
• Be aware that the club has a duty of care and therefore, where appropriate, assist coaches with the supervision of the young players, particularly where numbers are large and there is a need to transport youngsters to away games.
• Be involved with club activities and share your enthusiasm and expertise.
• Share concerns, if you have them, with club officials.
• Be familiar with the “Good Coach’s code” and seek to support coaches wherever possible
In Rugby Union parents should:
• Remember that young people play rugby for their own enjoyment not that of their parents.
• Encourage young people to play – do not force them.
• Focus on the young players’ efforts rather than winning or losing.
• Be realistic about the young players’ ability, do not seek to push them towards a level which they are not capable of achieving.
• Provide positive verbal feedback both in training and during the game. Remember that persistent, negative messages will adversely affect the players’ and referees’ performance and attitude.
• Always support the rugby club in their efforts to eradicate any loud, coarse and abusive behavior by anybody from the game.
• Remember young people learn much by example.
• Always show appreciation of good play by all young players both from your own club and the opposition.
• Respect decisions made by the match officials and encourage the young players to do likewise.
The Good Young Player’s code (ie Players Under 18 years of age)
Young players should recognise that many people in Rugby Union are working to provide a safe and enjoyable game in which they can develop both as a player and as an individual.
In Rugby Union young players are encouraged to:
• Recognise and appreciate the efforts made by coaches, parents, match officials and managers in providing them with the opportunity to play the game and enjoy the rugby environment.
• Recognise that every young player has a right to expect their involvement in rugby to be safe and free from all types of abuse.
• Understand that if an individual or group of young players feel that they are not being treated in a manner that is acceptable, then they have a right to tell an adult either at the rugby club or outside of the game.
In Rugby Union, as a young player, you should:
• Play because you want to do so, not to please coaches or parents.
• Be attentive at all training/coaching sessions.
• Work equally hard for yourself and your team and both will then benefit.
• Recognise good play by ALL players on your team and by your opponents.
• Be a good sport whether you win or lose.
• Play to the laws of the game and accept, without question, all the referee’s decisions.
• Control your emotions. Verbal or physical abuse of team-mates, opponents, or match officials IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
• Treat all players, as you would like to be treated. Do not interfere with, bully or take unfair advantage of any player.
The Good Spectator’s code
Young rugby players are impressionable and their behaviour will often reflect that of adults around them. In Rugby Union we welcome spectators on our touchlines who embrace the ethos of the game as one of FUN, ENJOYMENT and SKILL DEVELOPMENT.
In Rugby Union spectators are encouraged to:
• Act as positive role models to all young players.
• Be familiar with, and abide by, the RFU child protection guidance in relation to verbal and emotional abuse.
• Respect the rugby club policy with regard to spectator behaviour.
In Rugby Union spectators should:
• Acknowledge good individual and team performance from all youngsters irrespective of which team they play for.
• Respect match official’s decisions. Remember, they are volunteers providing an opportunity for youngsters to play rugby.
• NEVER VERBALLY ABUSE YOUNG PLAYERS, MATCH OFFICIALS, FELLOW SPECTATORS OR COACHES. Such behaviour can create a negative environment for young players and their subsequent behaviour will often reflect this.
• Acknowledge effort and good performance rather than the “win at all costs” ethic.
• Verbally encourage all youngsters in a positive way. If you do want to shout make sure it is ‘for’, not ‘at’, the players.
• Condemn bad language, rude behaviour and violence.
• Encourage all youngsters irrespective of their ability – never ridicule any individual player, regardless of the team they play for.
• Remember – It’s only a game!