Wednesday 20 June 2018

'These are kids, coaches are volunteers, referees are human' - Rugby club aims to take pressure off children

The Carrigaline Rugby Club sign has been widely praised
The Carrigaline Rugby Club sign has been widely praised

Kathy Armstrong

A rugby club has been praised for a sign reminding people that their underage players are just kids and that referees are only human.

Carrigaline Rugby Club in Cork erected the quirky sign in their grounds in Co Cork that reads: "Please remember: These are kids. This is a game. The coaches are volunteers. The referees are human. This is not the 6 Nations."

Aidan O'Brien, Chairman of Carrigaline Rugby Club, said they simply want to ensure kids are having a good time when they play sport.

He told "I was taken by surprise by the level of interest in the sign, I was told yesterday morning that people had been talking about it online but I was delighted to see it was all good.

"It's quite simple, it's not overstated and it acts as a reminder not just to parents but also to coaches that you don't want to be putting pressure on children, you want them to enjoy it.

"I think sometimes as coaches and as parents we can live our lives through our children a bit in some aspects, but you want them to develop and to enjoy it, to make friends and really just to have fun.

"It's a nice reminder to kids who are visiting us that that's what we are about and trying to do."

He added: "Immediately when it went up parents were really happy.

Aidan, who also volunteers as a coach, said they do their best to try and ensure that young players don't feel under pressure.

He said: "Another thing we've tried to do is that someone makes a mistake on the pitch, they don't need to be told that by five people because they will already know.

"I say that if I hear your voice you better be saying something encouraging, I don't want to hear someone giving out.

"The kids are of different ages and different abilities and we want to ensure it's a positive experience for them."

The sign has been widely praised online, with people sharing also sharing photos of similar versions that are in place at other sports clubs.

TD Michael McGrath said on Twitter: "Have to say I love this sign."
Another person empathised: "Copy and paste that into every sports club in the country! I've been that volunteer coach and it ain't easy."

A different man noted: "Been there, done that and suffered the abuse.

"It's a pity it takes a sign and Twitter to make parents to realise it's only a game."

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