As a coach, you are responsible for creating a safer environment for your swimmers. Need help doing that? Here are a few tips for developing a safer sporting environment for swim athletes.
Create a Code of Conduct
Creating a code of conduct is a great first step to help protect your swim athletes. Policies should spell out appropriate and inappropriate physical contact between athletes and adults who are not a child’s parents. You should also include hazing, bullying, and other forms of harassment by athletes or adult staff/volunteers and how they are strictly prohibited.
This is a good base to allow parents and staff members to know your policies and how you will be proactive in keeping your swim team safer this summer.
Get Background Checks
One of the most vital steps you can take toward creating a safer swimming environment. Coaches, volunteers, and team representatives play important roles in your swim league. The problem is swim leagues, like other youth sports programs, can attract the attention of dangerous individuals looking to groom and harm young victims. Taking the proactive approach with background checks will help make sure those kids are safer with the people they’ll regularly surround themselves with.
Assure your swimmers of a safer and more secure environment by requiring background checks right away. Requiring background checks for all coaches, volunteers, and officials will not only give you but the parents of your swim athletes the peace of mind knowing secure measures have been taken to create a safer environment.
Listen to Your Athletes
Your biggest ally in fostering a safer environment will be your swimmers themselves. So when they speak up, you need to listen. Don’t brush off their feelings because to you, everything is running just fine.
If your swim athletes feel uneasy about the environment you’ve created, your first step should be to ask them what you could be doing to help. Is there bullying on your team you need to address? Are there physical dangers in the locker room you should be aware of? Does the athlete feel safe in their carpool situation? Remind them no question is too small and you are there to help them.
Be Present and Proactive
Actively listening to your swim athletes’ concerns is essential. But equally important is being present and proactive in every situation. If you’re distracted or not there in spirit, you could miss important signs of trouble. And if you ignore your swimmers asking for help, you’re setting your swim league up for failure. Listen actively but also look for subtle signs in body language that your swimmers might not feel safe. When you notice that, be proactive about making changes and creating a safer environment for everyone.
Sign Up for Swim Insurance
To help feel extra protected, sign up for swim insurance. With the right coverage, you can provide a safer environment for your swim athletes as well as coaches and officials.
With comprehensive swim insurance, general liability and accident protection will help protect your swimmers and you from harm. While the pool is a great place for fun and learning, there are many opportunities for accidents and things to go wrong. Suppose one of your swimmers gets injured while at practice; you could be held liable for the injury. Insurance will provide coverage from third-party bodily injury and property damage.
Insurance can also help provide coverage for sexual abuse and molestation coverage. It’s not fun to think about, but even when you’re being the most careful, events like this can occur. So it’s essential to have the proper coverage in place so, in the event of a sexual abuse claim, you can act fast and get your swimmer the professional help they need.
And for some insurance coverage (like SLS’s swimmer insurance) defense against false claims is also included. This will cover anyone working through or for your swim league. This way, the personal liability of league officials, volunteers, and coaches are protected if an incident occurs, so that only proven guilty perpetrators are rightfully subject to criminal or civil liabilities.
Create a Fun, Safer Environment
We’re here to help you create a safer, more fun environment for your swimmers!
At SLS, our biggest goal is to help you create a fun, safer environment for your swim athletes. That’s why we offer the tools you need to make that happen. With our advanced level background checks and comprehensive insurance coverage, we can help you introduce children to the sport of swimming in a safer and more fun way.
SLS stays committed to protecting the integrity of the sport and supporting safer and healthy programs. No matter where you are in the United States, we’re ready to lend a hand. Let us help you reach your full potential!