Parents play a crucial part in junior footy. They often become volunteers, coaches and they are responsible for getting their kids to and from the games. But we have all heard stories of that aggressive parent abusing players, officials or coaches at a local junior game.

Poor sideline behaviour can have a negative effect on the players, your club and the sport.

This includes:

  • Teaching kids that it’s OKAY to disrespect others
  • Creating a bad match-day environment and culture at your club
  • It can be intimidating to players, officials and club volunteers
  • Kids and volunteers withdrawing from the club or AFL all together
  • Increase risk of legal actions. For example, abuse escalating to discrimination or harassment

Poor sideline behaviour will hurt everyone involved and needs to be stamped out before it starts to become the culture.

Establish a Club Code of Conduct

A Club Code of Conduct will outline an agreed standard of behaviour and process for disciplinary actions for your club’s administrators, coaches, officials, players and parents.

When establishing the code of conduct, there are three important considerations:

  • Develop codes of conduct in consultation with your club committee
  • Gain compliance by having members and parents sign the codes of conduct.
  • Remind members of the codes on a regular basis.

Appoint great ground managers

Ground Managers play a large role when it comes to controlling poor sideline behaviour.

Make sure your Ground Managers are clearly identifiable on game days, are educated on what to do if a situation occurs and are confident in managing poor behaviour. 

Promote the message

The club should continually promote the message that poor behaviour is not tolerated. This can be done via signage at the ground, PA announcements during game days, website and social media posts and mention of expectations at all club events.

Establish a clear incident process

Despite having prevention techniques in place, poor sideline behaviour may still occur. In which case you need to have a clear process on how to deal with the incident. Make sure all club officials, members and players are aware of the process as detailed in the relevant Code of Conduct.

The key to tackling poor sideline behaviour is to act early!

Stamp out poor behaviour before it escalates or becomes the norm at your club. No one wants to be THAT CLUB.