1.5 Session Health and Safety
One consideration which must be taken into account before EVERY training session is health and safety. We have a responsibility to ensure that everyone who attends any event which we host is looked after and that no harm befalls them.
In the context of football this means we need to make sure we have assessed the area where we will be playing, making sure the playing surface is free from any object which would injure someone should they fall on it (i.e. stones, glass, etc.), that the goalposts we are using are in good condition (i.e. is the cross bar firmly attached to the posts and is the goal secure so that it won't fall on anyone?) and that, as far as a visual check allows, ensure that the area is safe. It is also worth noting possible routes for vehicle access in the unlikely event that an ambulance is required for someone.
When working with your players, particularly young players, it is very important to know any medical conditions which they may have, such as allergies, if they have asthma (and, if so, to ensure they have their prescribed inhaler with them) or if they have any other medical condition relevant to sport. It is also important to know if anyone is carrying any injuries. As a Coach you are responsible for your players so if you have concerns about a young player it is best to speak to their parents or guardian to ensure they can play without risk to their health.
Like all contact sports football carries a risk of injury. Having a First Aid Kit is essential and, if possible, Coaches should attend First Aid training so that they know what to do if someone gets injured. Please speak to your relevant Country Director to discuss attending a course.
One other area which has been in the media of late is younger players heading footballs and the risk to their health that this entails, from concussion through to something more serious and long term. There are numerous studies available online which we would advise looking at but as a general guideline Onside doesn't train players in heading footballs. We are not saying that players cannot head a football during a game but as an organisation we do not include this in our training programmes.