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9 tips for appropriate touch in sport
24 May 2019

9 tips for appropriate touch in sport

With more and more child sexual abuse in sport stories coming to light in the press recently, there's an ongoing pressure to be the best we can be as coaches and work to the best standard possible. In a recent meeting with the team over at Freedom from Abuse, we got onto the topic of 'appopriate touch' and what it meant for sports coaches. It wasn't something we'd given much thought to before, so we asked CEO, Marilyn Hawes to write an aritcle for our users.

Touch is an important aspect of lots of support roles with children, but it needs to be beneficial and not put the child at risk.


Avoid Allegation


Always remind yourself that the last thing you need is an allegation to be made against your club or the coaches within it. Should this happen, your name will be entered onto List 99. A List 99 Check is a search on the Children’s Barred List to confirm if an individual is or is not barred from working with Children and it is a separate check to DBS.

DBS checks have been scaled back, unless someone is one-to-one with a child and others are around. Self-employed and volunteer tutors/coaches do NOT legally need a DBS and can only obtain one if applying through an organisation. It's a good idea to acquire references from new coaches to ensure you're taking the process seriously.


Advice for self-protection


1.How close should you stand when demonstrating?


It is a good idea to have the player by your side and use a mirror to show and copy. You should never hold the player to demonstrate. Not only will this raise eyebrows of concern, it also means the player may receive a message that everyone is harmless.


2. Is it a good idea to use video?


It is not a good idea to video to show the correct posture etc. unless the device belongs to the organisation. But even then, who holds the film and for how long? Have you established parental consent? There are lots of things to consider and policies to have in place.


3. Gaining consent


Always ask a player if it is okay to hold their arm etc. We never know the history behind anybody's life. Even appropriate touch can be a memory trigger for some and this could have a negative impact on them.


4. What if an athlete has a 'crush' on a coach?


An athlete may push physical boundries if they have a crush on a coach. Gently request the player stands less close, report the incidents to the welfare officer or DSL and keep a record and monitor it. Always ensure that you keep a paper trail of events.



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5. Should I take 1:1 sessions?


1:1 tuition is always a risk. Request the parent attends for the protection of yourself and your coaches.


6. What about being alone with athletes at other times?


Request parents arrive 5 minutes before the end of any session. Some parents use this time to go off shopping and return late. It's not good practice to be alone with the last athlete.


7. Who monitors changing rooms?


Best practice is 2 approved adults to avoid any allegations of misconduct.


8. Should I give athletes a lift home?


Never take a young player home from your club. Even if you are a known friend who often takes the child home from school. This situation is different and has different rules and implications. If, in the event of an emergency you have to give the child a lift, ensure they sit in the back of the car.

 

9. Can I do anything extra?


It is a good idea to offer a workshop to parents to show them what IS appropriate touch with regards to your particular sport, effectively and safely. This can help parents not be paranoid, confused and make them aware. So, if anything goes beyond the line, they should know to report.

Please remember those of ill intent WILL push boundaries against the safeguarding policy and in that instant ANY concerns no matter how small, need reporting.

 


 

If you're looking for a sports club membership software that will help you safeguard your members, try a free trial of Coacha today.


About Marilyn Hawes


Safeguarding in Sport


Marilyn founded Freedom From Abuse after a Head Teacher and close family friend sexually groomed and assaulted 3 of her sons over 17 years ago. Marilyn was driven by not wanting others to go through what she and her family had gone through and has committed her life to trying to prevent grooming and child sex abuse as much as she can. 

She teaches schools, sports associations and other organisations all across the country and has a lot of experience in publicising her views on child protection.

 

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We have just started using Coacha this season and honestly it is one of the best decisions I have made this year! I used to spend hours on admin, chasing people for payments, taking cash & cheques to the bank and then checking to make sure the payments had actually gone into our account. Now I no longer have to write out invoices or handle cash and Coacha wil... l do the chasing for payments for me - which is amazing! Whenever I have any questions I get straight on the phone and their amazing team have either got the problem solved in seconds, or they get back to me as soon as they can with a solution. I cannot recommended this software and the support team enough. Thank you from one happy and less stressed Cheerleading coach!  read more

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Before heading into our second season as a club and doubling in size we were very apprehensive about the administration aspect. I am so grateful to have come across coacha as it has made my life seamless in terms of the membership process among other factors such as data protection. We have also set up a stripe account to collect our monthly fees and I am very ex... cited about this as it is going to completely eliminate the tiresome process of chasing people. The report section of coacha is also really handy to be able to track who has set up their subscription. Taylor & the coacha team’s response time to feedback is excellent and I have been very impressed with the service so far. Coacha is revolutionising the way we work and they are doing a fantastic job!  read more

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Taylor James

Taylor James

Sep 25, 2018

Always do their best to help sports clubs save time, money and do more things that they enjoy.

Kelly Loughlin

Kelly Loughlin

Sep 25, 2018

An amazing service, has saved me hours and hours of admin. Easy way to take payments and safely store athlete details. Such a huge weight off my shoulders!

Marley Hughes

Marley Hughes

Sep 6, 2018

Couldn't run my swimming classes without it now. The team are just great, really helpful, will always help you out. The system is really reliable - I tried a lot of different pieces of software and none matched Coacha for price and features. Thanks guys. x

Kim Readman

Kim Readman

Nov 7, 2018

Great software, still very much a work in progress, but fantastic so far and the customer service is absolutely first rate :)

Jess Mortimer

Jess Mortimer

Oct 1, 2018

We have just started using Coacha this season and honestly it is one of the best decisions I have made this year! I used to spend hours on admin, chasing people for payments, taking cash & cheques to the bank and then checking to make sure the payments had actually gone into our account. Now I no longer have to write out invoices or handle cash and Coacha wil... l do the chasing for payments for me - which is amazing! Whenever I have any questions I get straight on the phone and their amazing team have either got the problem solved in seconds, or they get back to me as soon as they can with a solution. I cannot recommended this software and the support team enough. Thank you from one happy and less stressed Cheerleading coach!  read more

Katie Dignan

Katie Dignan

Sep 25, 2018

Amazing software that has helped our club so much!




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