By Jim Clare, Illinois Coach-in-Chief – As the season moves along toward playoffs, it is a good time for a reminder to coaches, managers, and parents about locker room policies. The number one priority we all have is to keep our skaters safe. Part of that charge is handling locker rooms.
As a former club president, I can honestly say over 13 years I never once had a locker room issue when an adult was in the locker room. All locker room incidents that crossed my desk happened when a screened adult was not present. Think about it, if you left thirteen 10 year-olds home alone, what are the chances that something would happen? But if the parents are in the house, the odds reduce drastically. It is no different with a locker room. One of the biggest concerns is cameras or recording devices being used in the locker room. This is strictly forbidden.
Some Rules To Follow:
- Always have a screened adult present in the locker room; coach, manager, parent, etc. If one is not available and the kids need to get dressed, an adult should stand by the door, prop it open and be sure the kids know you are there to listen. Never leave them alone.
- The responsibility for the locker room is the coach’s. He or she is the one that needs to enforce the policy.
- No recording device or camera is allowed to be used in a locker room at any time. This is a clear policy as listed in the SafeSport guidelines and is the cause of many of the locker room issues we see over the course of a season. It does not matter if the team is dressed or not, NO cameras or recording devices in the locker room.
- If you have a mixed-gender team, it is the coach’s responsibility to ensure that the girls have a place to get dressed. Know your rinks, call ahead, and be prepared. Be sure that they are included in both pre-game and post-game meetings. The girls are part of the team and deserve the same treatment.
- At a certain age parents should not be allowed in the locker room. The age at which this happens is at a club’s discretion, but most clubs stop this practice by the 10U year.
- Coaches, never conduct a player meeting alone. Always have an assistant coach, manager, or parent present during these interactions. This protects both the player and the coach.