Fair Play For All
In these days of competitive league and cup rugby at Junior level and a pervading culture of winning at all costs, it is important not to 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. To lose sight of this would be detrimental to everyone.
With that thought in mind the Rugby Football Union have revised their Fair Play Codes and produced these guidelines which help remind all of us all of why we enjoy being part of this great game.

This code is designed:

  • To maintain the element of enjoyment and satisfaction in Junior Rugby.
  • To make adults aware that young people play to satisfy themselves and not necessarily to satisfy adults or members of their own peer group.
  • To improve the physical fitness of youth by making it attractive, safe and enjoyable for all young people.
  • To constantly remind Administrators, Coaches, Referees, Parents, that Rugby must be administered, taught and provided, for the good of those young people who wish to play the game.
  • It is their game!



THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN TEAM MANAGEMENT AND PARENTS
This is positively encouraged through:

  • Providing information on possible financial issues.
  • Agreeing issues relating to Duty of Care (eg 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 (eg gum shields ), and where it can be purchased from.
  • Ensuring parents are aware of what is acceptable touchline behaviour.
  • AND ABOVE ALL:
  • Involving parents in peripheral activities which make them feel they 'belong', especially if it involves expertise which is not rugby related.


THE GOOD PARENT'S CODE
In Rugby Union coaches and administrators 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 and training 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 expertise.
  • Be involved during matches help support the coaches and referee eg volunteer to run the line, ensure players have adequate supply of water, writing match reports etc.
  • Share concerns, if you have them, with club officials.
  • Be familiar with the "Good Coach's Code".

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT PARENTS SUPPORT COACHES IN INSTILLING THESE VIRTUES.

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.
  • Teach young people that honest effort is as important as victory so the result of each game is accepted without undue disappointment.
  • Be realistic about the young players' ability, do not push them towards a level that they are not capable of achieving.
  • Provide positive verbal feedback both in training and during the game.
  • Turn defeat into victory by helping young people work towards skill improvement and good sportsmanship. Never ridicule or yell at your child for making a mistake or losing a game.
  • REMEMBER THAT PERSISTENT, NEGATIVE MESSAGES WILL ADVERSELY AFFECT THE PLAYERS' AND REFEREE'S PERFORMANCE AND ATTITUDE.
  • Always support the rugby club in their efforts to eradicate loud, coarse and abusive behaviour 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.
  • Remember that young people learn best by example. Applaud good play by your team and by members of the opposing team.
  • Encourage your child to always play by the laws.
  • Respect decisions made by the match officials and encourage the young players to do likewise.
  • Do not publicly question the referee's judgement and never his/her honesty.
  • Do not approach a referee/touch judge at any stage during or immediately after a game.
  • Recognise the value and importance of volunteer coaches, managers and referees. They give of their time and resources to provide recreational activities for your children.


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 ensure that all youngsters are given the opportunity to fulfil their aspirations in a caring environment where the emphasis is on:- FUN, ENJOYMENT and SKILL DEVELOPMENT

COACH'S CODE OF CONDUCT
  • You have responsibility for the behaviour of your team and its supporters. EXERCISE IT.
  • Be reasonable in your demands on the young player's time, energy and enthusiasm. Remember that they have other interests and demands on their time.
  • Appreciate the needs of the players before the needs of the sport.
  • Teach your players that laws of the game are mutual agreements, which no one should evade or break.
  • Ensure that all players get a game. The 'just average' players need and deserve equal time.
  • Remember that young people play for fun and enjoyment and that winning is only part of it. Never ridicule or yell at the players for making mistakes or losing a game.
  • Recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment when coaching young players. Most learning is achieved through "doing."
  • Keep winning and losing in perspective -encourage young players to behave with dignity in all circumstances.
  • The scheduling and length of practice times and games should take into consideration the maturity level of the players.
  • Develop team respect for the ability of opponents, as well as, the judgement of referees and opposing coaches.
  • Follow the advice of a doctor in determining when an injured player is ready to play again.
  • Remember that young people need a coach they can respect. Be generous with your praise when it is deserved and set a good example.
  • Provide positive verbal feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner, to all young players both during coaching sessions and games.
  • Make a personal commitment to keep yourself informed on sound coaching principles and the principles of growth and development of young people.
  • Encourage young people to develop basic skills and avoid over-specialisation in positional play during their formative years.
  • Create opportunities to teach sportsmanship, just as you would in teaching the basic skills.
  • Ensure that efforts for both skill improvement and good sportsmanship are rewarded by praise.
  • Ensure that skill learning and free play activities have priority over highly structured competitions for very young people.
  • INSIST ON FAIR PLAY, do not tolerate foul play, fighting, or foul language. Be prepared to take off an offending player.
  • Discourage excessive talk on the pitch.
  • INSIST on a disciplined approach by players and mean what you say.
  • Set a good example by personal good behaviour.
  • Be a positive role model - think what this implies.
  • Respect all referees and the decisions they make (remember it could be you refereeing next week) and ensure that the players recognise that they must do the same.
  • Do not approach a referee/touch judge at any stage during or immediately after a game.

IN RUGBY UNION COACHES OF YOUNG PLAYERS MUST:

  • 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 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.
  • Develop an awareness of nutrition as part of an overall education, in lifestyle management.
  • Recognise that it is illegal for young players under 18 to drink alcohol.
  • 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.

REMEMBER:
COACHES WORKING WITH YOUNG PLAYERS UP TO THE AGE OF 12 MUST FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES LAID DOWN BY THE RFU CONTINUUM.
COACHES WORKING WITH YOUNG PLAYERS AGE 13+ MUST BE AWARE OF THE UNDER 19 AND UNDER 15 LAW VARIATIONS, INCLUDING THOSE THAT APPLY TO CROSS BORDER MATCHES.


THE GOOD MANAGER'S CODE

  • Encourage parents to take an active interest in the Team.
  • Encourage parents and supporters to talk to opposition spectators.
  • Encourage supporters to praise good play by both teams.
  • Discourage supporters from excessive barracking.
  • Provide administrative assistance to the Coach including full knowledge of the Competition Rules and paperwork requirements.
  • Be fully informed of Rugby requirements and matters affecting your team.
  • Look after injured players while they are not able to take the field.
  • Ensure that players are aware of representative trials and if selected, they are fully aware of their commitments and that they know of their selection.
  • Insist on an appropriate standard of team behaviour both on and off the field.
  • Set an example in terms of behaviour.
  • Do not approach a referee/touch judge at any stage during or immediately after a game.


THE GOOD PLAYER'S CODE
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 administrators in providing them with the opportunity to play the game and enjoy the rugby environment.
  • Understand the values of loyalty and commitment to adults and team-mates.
  • 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.
  • Remember skill development, fun and enjoyment are the most important parts of the game.
  • Remember that the goals of the game are to have fun, improve your skills and feel good. Don't be a show off or always try to get the most points.
  • Be attentive at all training / coaching sessions.
  • Co-operate with your coach, manager, team mates, referee and opponents, for without them you don't have a game.
  • Work equally hard for yourself and your team's performance will benefit and so will your own.
  • Recognise good play by ALL players on your team and by your opponents.
  • Be a sportsman - win or lose. Applaud all good play, whether by your team or by your opponent.
  • Play to the laws of the game and accept, without question, all the referee's decisions.
  • Never argue with the referee's decisions. Let your captain ask any necessary questions.
  • Do not approach a referee/touch judge at any stage during or immediately after a game.
  • Control your emotions. Verbal or physical abuse of team-mates, opponents, or match officials IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
  • Control your temper - no 'mouthing off'.
  • 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 the 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:

  • Remember children play sport for their enjoyment not yours.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.



THE GOOD CLUB VOLUNTEERS CODE
The essence of good ethical conduct and practice is summarised below. All volunteers must:

  • Consider the well-being and safety of participants before the development of performance.
  • Develop an appropriate working relationship with players, based on mutual trust and respect.
  • Make sure all activities are appropriate to the age, ability and experience of those taking part.
  • Promote the positive aspects of the sport (e.g. fair play).
  • Display consistently high standards of behaviour and appearance
  • Follow all guidelines laid down by the RFU and the Club.
  • Hold or be working towards the appropriate, valid qualifications.
  • Never exert undue influence over performers to obtain personal benefit or reward.
  • Never condone law violations, rough play or the use of prohibited substances.


THE GOOD ADMINISTRATOR'S CODE

  • Ensure that equal opportunities for participation in Rugby are made available to all irrespective of ability.
  • Do not allow the game to become primarily spectator entertainment.
  • Equipment and facilities must be appropriate to the maturity level of the young players.
  • Rules and length of schedules should take into consideration the age and maturity level of the young players.
  • Remember that play is done for its own sake. Do not emphasise the need for awards.
  • Distribute the code of conduct to spectators, coaches, players, referees, parents and teachers.
  • Ensure that parents, coaches, sponsors, doctors and participants understand their authority and their responsibility for fair play in Rugby.
  • Ensure adequate supervision is maintained at all games.
  • Behave in a manner to set an example for all participants.
  • Do not approach a referee/touch judge at any stage during or immediately after a game.