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 journeys 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: 

  • Elect gender-equity captains 
  • 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 

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With the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.