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Keeping things safe

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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Did you know?

Gold Coast 2018 is the 5th Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Australia.

Quick numbers

11.6 million Australian adults participate in sport or physical activity three or more times per week.
3.2 million Australian children participate in organised sport or physical activity outside of school.
$10 billion is spent annually by Australians on fees for participation in sport or physical activity.
17 million Australian adults participate in a sport or physical activity every year.