WHAT IS SAFE SPORT?
The term ‘Safe Sport’ is defined as “physical and emotional safety which includes concussion and injury prevention, and environments free from bullying, abuse, harassment, discrimination and other forms of maltreatment”.
ENGAGEMENT & COMMUNICATION
How can we consistently and intentionally engage with all stakeholders, including athletes, to ensure meaningful feedback?
Intentional engagement with stakeholders, especially athletes, provides a firsthand assessment of how well your policies and training are working on the field of play.
Below you will find best practices anchored in behavioural examples to demonstrate safe sport environments for coaches and athletes. This includes promoting a shared understanding of organizational values as well as recommended communication and conflict resolution practices.
We have outlined how organizations can promote empowering athletes and coaches to recognize and create safe sport environments for all.
Create a Communication and Engagement Protocol that outlines how you will communicate and engage with each of your stakeholders including coaches, athletes, parents/guardians of minor athletes, officials, volunteers and other stakeholders on a regular basis using townhalls, webinars, in-person meetings, surveys, interviews, councils/committees and/or other interactive methods. Your communication protocol could include annual opportunities for engagement and feedback such as:
Pre-season expectations meetings
Post-season feedback sessions
Ensure all stakeholders are aware of CAC’s tips and leading practices connected to Rule of 2 and if you are having challenges implementing Rule of 2, use CAC’s Rule of 2 Implementation Matrix to help make a plan.
Hold a virtual or in-person meeting after stakeholders have watched the Athlete and Coach Safe Sport Expectations Webinar (available late January 2022) to address any questions or concerns. Use the Safe Sport Debrief Tips for Administrators to create an agenda and guide for discussion.
Encourage all coaches to hold a Safe Sport Debrief with their team and/or athletes either virtually or in-person after they have all have watched the Athlete and Coach Safe Sport Expectations Webinar (available late January 2022) to address any questions or concerns. Advise the coaches to use the Safe Sport Debrief Tips for Coaches to create an agenda and guide for discussion as well as the Safe Sport Tips for Athletes and Safe Sport Tips for Coaches.
Follow up with the coaches on areas of concern that were brought up during their Debrief and make a plan to address these with other administrators, coaches, etc.
If you already have a Strategic Plan outlining your organization’s Vision, Mission and Values, look at how you can leverage your strategic priorities or other aligned areas with your safe sport priorities and messages. If you do not have a Strategic Plan, look at developing one and align your safe sport priorities and messages within it.
Use your organization’s social media accounts to engage with stakeholders and to give specific key messages about safe sport to targeted audiences.
Set up channels for virtual, phone, and in-person connections (e.g., video and audio conference accounts, meeting space), as required, in advance of each season to allow easy interactions at all levels of the organization.
Repeat all steps annually.