Friday July 21 2017
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Coaching Responsibilities: Player Safety

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Coaches do more than shout instructions during a match. Their responsibilities include making games and practices safe for their players. Here are nine things coaches should do to insure safety:

1) Properly plan their practice/training sessions. Use the methods promoted by USSF’s Coaching Program or the NSCAA.

2) Provide proper instruction. Teach techniques, tactics, and rules using the current accepted methods. Head coaches should supervise assistants. 

3) Warn players of inherent risks. Make sure they understand the dangers when attempting to execute complicated techniques.

4) Provide a safe physical environment. Coaches must inspect the practice or playing area for dangerous conditions (holes, broken glass, etc.), insure that portable goals are properly handled and secured when in use, and observe weather conditions when dangerous conditions are possible (extreme heat, thunderstorms, etc.).

5) Provide adequate and proper equipment. Properly inflated balls, unbroken training equipment, as well as inspecting each players’ equipment all help reduce the risk of injury.

6) Match your athletes appropriately. Pairing the biggest and smallest players or the fastest and slowest players does not provide good training and development opportunities and often increases the opportunity for injury.

7) Evaluate athletes for injury or incapacity. Err on the side of caution when dealing with an injury during a game or training. Be able to recognize the signs or symptoms of injury or illness common to soccer. Keep track of the medical needs of your players (allergies, recovering from ankle injury). Get doctor and parent permission before returning a player to action; be aware a doctor’s permission doesn’t always mean the player should return to action.

8) Provide appropriate emergency assistance. Have an emergency plan for the various incidents that will likely occur throughout a season. Implement the plan and turn treatment over to trained medical personnel quickly when the injury or illness warrants.

9) Supervise activity closely. Coaches are responsible for their players from their arrival through their departure. Pay attention to all activity and modify risky behavior immediately. Always have at least one other adult available at all times in the event of an emergency. 

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