Code Of Conduct For Coaches And Parents

Every year, 14 million people play grassroots football in England across all forms and frequencies.

However, in grassroot sports overall there have been discourse surrounding coach and parent conduct, and what is acceptable and too far. Children & teenagers are dropping out of sports at an alarming rate and the first thing you should be asking yourself is am I responsible for this?  


What’s your main responsibility

As a coach or parent what’s your main responsibility?

1) Making sure they have all the information they need to become the best player possible?

2) Teaching them life lessons through sport, like work ethic?

3) Ensuring their well-being, safety and enjoyment of the sport is paramount?

If you answered 1, are they going to get better if they don’t enjoy it? If you still think they will, do we want children to participate in activities they don’t enjoy?

If you answered 2, what about the children’s well-being? Will you be able to teach children through activities they have negative relationships with? 

If you answered 3, at Moving Matters, we believe you are bang on.


Playing sport should be a safe place where children can be active and develop a love for the game and all the things that come with it. Once love for the game is ignited, the rest takes care of itself as they will develop a desire to improve, as they enjoy it and naturally they will learn from mistakes, and pick up skills like communication and leadership.

A great coach can accelerate this process and this is exactly what we pride ourselves on at Moving Matters. For now, our advice to every coach and parent is, make sure your children/players enjoy it otherwise they will not have a positive relationship with sport and physical activity. 


Set An Example

Children are products of their environment and they will imitate parents & teachers. We see this at our competitions, where unfortunately we regularly witness this. This largely revolves around representing their school against others. Our staff are not professional referees in these sports, but they do prepare diligently and give decisions fairly. We work with Sports Leader at our competitions, giving young people an opportunity to step into leadership and officiating, but they are often met with scrutiny by the adults around them.

What is the impact here when the coach or parent starts complaining? The children start complaining! 

Take a minute to think about what example this sets for the children and the behaviors they will develop as a result. 

On the flipside, we have parents and coaches who see this as a learning opportunity, who know unfavorable decisions are part of sport and life. They create an environment where children have to be resilient enough to deal with it and not make excuses.

The best coaches make sure their team celebrates the success of other teams, making sure their parents applaud positive play from both teams and that their teams appreciate the opposition no matter what. 


Think about what environment you would like your children or players in? And whether you’re setting a positive example yourself.


Please watch this video from Gary Lineker and pay attention to the key phrase ‘just let them play’ here.


Reminder of the FA Code of conduct for spectators and parents can be found here.

– Ashley Snadden