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GAA underage Code of Behaviour - please read!

posted 15 Aug 2014, 05:10 by Cian OLionain   [ updated 15 Aug 2014, 05:11 ]

There is no more satisfaction for anyone involved with our underage games than to see the happy face of our young members enjoying their participation in our games. However, this should never be taken for granted and we all have a shared responsibility to ensure that those young members have a safe, respectful and enjoyable atmosphere within which to learn our games.


The GAA Code of Behaviour for when working with underage players addresses the minimum appropriate levels of behaviour , practice and conduct required from our Young Players, Coaches, Supporters, Parents/Guardians, Referees and Clubs so as to ensure a quality time for everyone involved. The promotion of this Code of Behaviour, and of the good standards therein, is not something that we can leave solely to the Club’s Children’s Officer. Ultimately it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the Code is fully implemented.

As the various underage Championships are reaching their final stages, and as we are fortunate enough to have a wide range of teams involved at the “business end” of these championships, we are asking all our members, players, parents and coaches to adhere to the principles of the Code of Behaviour at all times but particularly during game time!


Some of the key expectations of the Code are set below and everyone is encouraged to read the full Code which is you will find in our “Downloads” section to the left:



  • Play fairly, do their best and enjoy themselves.
  • Respect fellow team members regardless of ability, cultural or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation or religion beliefs.
  • Support fellow team members regardless of whether they do well or not.
  • Represent their team, their Club and their family with pride and dignity.
  • Respect all coaches, officials and their opponents.
  • Be gracious in defeat and modest in victory.
  • Know that it is acceptable to talk to the Club Children’s Officer with any concerns or questions they may have. Tell somebody else if they or others have been harmed in any way.



  • Be positive during coaching sessions, games and other activities so that players always leave with a sense of achievement and an increased level of self-esteem.
  • Recognise the development needs and capacity of all underage players, regardless of their ability, by emphasising participation for all while avoiding excessive training and competition. Skills development and personal satisfaction should have priority over competition when working with underage players.
  • Do not equate losing with failure and do not develop a preoccupation with medals and trophies. The level of improvement made by underage players is the best indicator of effective coaching.
  • Never use foul language or provocative language/gestures to a player, opponent or match official.
  • Only enter the field of play with the Referee’s permission.
  • Do not question a Referee’s decisions or integrity.
  • Encourage players to respect and accept the judgement of match officials.
  • Promote Fair Play and the RESPECT campaign.
  • Challenge Bullying in any form whether physical or emotional. Bullying is not acceptable behaviour be it from a young person, coach, parent/guardian, spectator or match official.


  • Adopt a positive attitude to their children’s participation in our games.
  • Respect officials’ decisions and encourage children to do likewise.
  • Do not exert undue pressure on your child.
  • Never admonish your own child or any other child for their standard of play.
  • Be realistic in their expectations and show approval for effort, not just results.
  • Do not criticise playing performances. Identify how improvements may be made.
  • Do not enter the field of play unless specifically invited to do so by an official in charge.

While breaches of the code may unfortunately occur from time to time St. Martin’s is committed to taking the actions necessary to protect the integrity of our work with our young members and to ensure that they receive the best possible care and attention while participating. Working together we can create the best possible environment for all our underage players, recognising the truth of the Irish proverb, “Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí”, or “praise the young, and they will flourish”.