Create a safe and inclusive environment
A safe and inclusive environment can foster the development of trust between players on and off the field. It will also positively affect the sense of camaraderie and group identity with the team or association. As a team leader, manager or player, you directly contribute to the atmosphere and culture of your team or club.
The environment within your club should be open, inclusive and accepting. This means being a safe place for people to express their thoughts and emotions. Creating an environment where it is possible to talk about sensitive issues is very challenging. Genuine efforts must be made to listen to these voices and consider them. The coaches and leaders must pay particular attention to empowering others. Everyone needs to be seen, heard and supported.
Long journies to tournaments and attending socials and training together are beneficial for creating a trustful environment and building connections with others.
It is important to make everyone feel welcome and accepted and take their thoughts and emotions seriously. Make sure to reflect this philosophy through all your interactions with the team, and ensure that you use inclusive and appropriate language in your communication. It may be helpful to hold team feedback sessions where people can voice their experiences. If this is too much pressure, you could leave a channel for feedback via an online form. This ensures there is always a communication pathway available to team leadership.
However, some topics, such as abuse or bullying, are too sensitive to be discussed in a casual atmosphere and need a specific framework to manage these discussions confidentially. Do not hesitate to seek the support of professionals to facilitate these discussions.
You can find practical tips about this here:
Don't compare the women's and men's divisions of the same sport
What is toxic masculinity and how to tackle it
Be aware of objectification of bodies attitudes
Be aware of mansplaining attitudes during trainings and games
Referenced Case Studies
Recruiter Training: getting the most out of your recruitment efforts
How Flying Rabbits Ultimate Brussels implemented gender equity in the club