Childrens Health

One Good Adult

In 2012, Headstrong  and the UCD School of Psychology conducted the My World Survey, a National Study of Youth Mental Health.  The survey showed how different elements and experiences of a young person are related to their mental health. 14,500 young people participated in the study and the main findings suggested that mental health difficulties emerged in early adolescence and peaked in the late teens and early 20’s.

The major finding was that ONE GOOD ADULT is important in the mental well being of young people. having one good adult present in a child life, has the following impact:

  • One caring adult in a young person’s life can buffer against stress and lead to positive psychological functioning.
  • One good adult instills higher levels of optimism and increased self esteem (self esteem plays a major protective role for mental health).
  • The presence of one good adult enhances the ability to cope and increases likelihood of active coping (talking etc) as opposed to destructive coping (alcohol misuse).
  • Low levels of support from one good adult correlate to low levels of life satisfaction.
  • Low levels of support from one good adult correlate to significantly higher levels of depression and anxiety.

Building Positive Clubs 

Donegal Sports Partnership @ActiveDonegal have used this information and designed a programme/toolkit to create a positive environment throughout youth sports. The aim of the initiative is to create a culture of positivity within sporting clubs and communities. It’s about promoting positive mental wellbeing through sport by developing an ethos of respect within the clubs. The Charter encourages clubs to understand the importance of effort rather that the win at all costs attitude – promoting inclusion, communication and most importantly enjoyment when partaking in sport at any level.

Finn Harps and Donegal Sports Partnership piloted the “Building Positive Clubs” in 2014, The programme aligns with the Charter for Positive Mental Well-being which was developed in 2014 by Donegal Sports Partnership. Read about it here

Not all athletes will reach an elite level in the game. In fact less than 1% will.

Be Patient
Be Realistic
Allow them to reach their full potential not yours.

– End

I always like to hear your opinions and views. If you feel you have something to say, please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. As always, thanks for reading.

I’m also on twitter @Coachdiary


  • Headstrong & UCD School of Psychology – My World Survey
  • Donegal Sports Partnership – Building Positive Clubs Resources

Child Protection Childrens Health Irish Grassroots Football Soccer Parents

Players Pledge

Last week it was the parent’s turn to take the pledge and be a supportive parent. Responsibility also falls on the players to commit to their game, do the best they can possible do and respect the opposition, their fellow players and the officials.

“When I grew up, it was children competing against children. Now, more often than not, it’s adults competing against other adults through their children.” – John O’Sullivan 

Kids can provide a positive attitude and be a honourable participator.

I pledge to have a positive attitude and to do my very best each and every time I play sports:

  1. I will be a good sportsperson and respect my fellow players, coaches, officials, parents and the opposition.
  2. I will arrive on time to training and games.
  3. I will do my best in training and not miss a session when it is reasonably possible.
  4. I will make sure if I’m missing training or a game, my parents notify the coach at all times.
  5. If I train I will expect to receive a fair and equal amount of playing time.
  6. I will always treat people with respect, including my fellow players; coaches and parents. I will expect the same from them.
  7. I will always play with a smile and have fun and will notify parents or coaches if it stops being fun.
  8. I deserve to play in a healthy, safe and friendly environment and I expect adults to make sure my wish is respected.
  9. I will encourage my parents to come to my game and support me in a positive way. I want to make them proud of me today.
  10. I will do my very best in school. I know that sport is very important part of growing up and I also know that education is even more important.
  11. I will wear my club colours with pride and make sure I always have my full kit in training and on match day.
  12. I will play in any position my coach asks me to play in. I will put my team first and give 100% effort every time.

“When a kids plays sport the most important thing is that they have a good time, having fun is one way of making sure of that” – TCD

DOWNLOAD TCD Player’s Pledge, sign it and give it to your coach. 

Have a wonderful season playing sport.

Put it in your calendar: 


I always like to hear your opinions and views. If you feel you have something to say, please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. As always, thanks for reading.

I’m also on twitter  @Coachdiary

Child Protection Childrens Health Irish Grassroots Football Soccer Parents

Take The Pledge, 16 Elements in support of your child’s sport.

Why not start the season and take the pledge to be more encouraging at your kids match. This way you commit to implementing a healthier and sustainable pathway to success, which falls on the shoulders of everyone involved with Kids Sports – especially Parents.

TCD wants to insure that Kids Sport can be enjoyed in a safe and positive environment. Remember that football and all sport provide kids with the opportunity to develop, their Technical, Physical, Tactical (older) and social skills.

Winning is not the number 1 reason they get involved.

Parents are continually asked by clubs to get involved and be a supportive spectator, here is one way to can be just that.

I here by pledge to provide positive support, praise and encouragement for my child participating in this game, by following the Parent Pledge.

  1. I will let my child play and have fun in a safe environment.
  2. I will let my child choose the sport(s) he/she wants to play.
  3. I will get my child to and from training/matches on time.
  4. I will remember that the game is for kids and not for adults.
  5. I will let the coaches take responsibility for instructing and teaching my child.
  6. I will refrain from making negative comments about my child’s coach in my child’s presence. I understand that everyone is trying their best and sometimes people make mistakes. By doing this I understand this will avoid planting negatives thoughts in my child’s head that can negatively influence his/her motivation and sports experience.
  7. I will focus on using sports to teach life lessons to my child and his teammates.
  8. I will teach my child what it is to be a ‘Winner’. A winner is someone who gives their best Effort, always want to Learn and does not let Mistakes, or fear of making mistakes stop them from improving.
  9. I will provide positive encouragement to my child and his or her teammates and will never ridicule or yell at my child for losing a game or competition.
  10. I will limit my comments during the game. The game can be a very chaotic experience for my child, especially trying to deal with the fast-paced action and having to listen to teammates directions, as well as blank out, all the sideline noise and focus on things the coaching staff are saying. I will not at to the confusion.
  11. I will set an example to always respect the game and encourage my child to remember the ROOTS (Respect for the Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates & Self). I will never engage in, or tolerate, offensive, insulting, or abusive language or behaviour towards any official, coach, player or spectator.
  12. I will be in control of my self and my emotions on the sideline and pledge to stay quiet if I have nothing positive to say.
  13. I will ensure the trip back home in the car is a positive one.
  14. I will always say things like, ‘I love watching you play’ and ‘Did you have fun?’ and “Did you do your best?’ to my child after their game.
  15. I will always make sure my child has fun. I understand that the top 3 reasons kids play sport are to 1. Have fun 2. Make New Friends. 3. Learn new skills and that far less than 1% of all participants ever make it to the professional level of the game.
  16. I will not live my dreams through my child.

Yes, I commit to making my child’s sport experience a Healthy and Enjoyable one!

DOWNLOAD The Parent Pledge, sign it and hand the top half to your child’s coach. Have a great season supporting your child’s team!

Next post is the ‘Player’s Pledge’ 


I always like to hear your opinions and views. If you feel you have something to say, please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. As always, thanks for reading.

I’m also on twitter  @Coachdiary


Childrens Health

Player Welfare (Concussion)

Now that the World Cup has some to an end FIFA needs to look at the safety of players before 2018. First on the list: an adequate, medically-informed assessment of its procedures concerning head injuries, and not just those of Christoph Kramer and Álvaro Pereira. This is called accountability. It is a basic human concern, and FIFA, once again in the spotlight, is silent on a issue that is staring them right in the face.

This year I attended the Acquired Brain Injury seminar and I was astonished to hear from children who had suffered  from contact to the head in sport. Bottom line: players should not have the authority to decide for themselves whether or not it is alright for them to play after sustaining a blow to the head.

Below is some vital information that could help you save someones life. It’s just not worth taking the risk. 

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Signs Observed By Coaching Staff: 

  • Appear dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about position
  • Forgets an instruction
  • unsure of game details
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Show mood/behaviour /Personality Change
  • Forget Events ‘Prior’ to hit or fall
  • Forgets Events ‘After’ hit or fall

“I believe I have sustained over twenty concussions over the past three years but to drop out would have been a sign of weakness.” – BERNARD JACKMAN 

Symptoms Reported By Player: 

  • Headache or Pressure
  • Nausea
  • Balance or Dizziness
  • Double or Blurry Vision
  • Sensitivity to Light/Noise
  • Feeling Sluggish/Hazy/Groggy
  • Concentration/Memory Problems
  • Confusion
  • Does not ‘Feel right’ or ‘Feeling Down’


After an initial concussion the individual should subscribe to complete and utter rest.

  • No Texting
  • No TV/Radio
  • No Computers
  • No Bright Lights
  • No Reading
  • No Physical Exercise
  • No Alcohol
  • No Driving
  • No Exertion of any kind

If a player sleeps after a Concussion, wake them every few hours during the night, or while resting to check their communication.

On the Field Treatment

Orientation – Ask the player the following questions:

  • What Pitch/arena is this?
  • What half/quarter are we in?
  • What city/town is this?
  • What team are we playing?
  • What day is it?

Memory ‘After’ hit – Ask the player to repeat the following:

  • Girl, Dog, Green

Memory ‘Before’ hit – Ask the player to repeat the following:

  • Do you remember the hit?
  • What happened in this half before the hit?
  • What was the score of the game before the hit?

Concentration – Ask the player to repeat the following:

  • Repeat the days of the week backwards (starting today)
  • Repeat these numbers backwards: 63 (36is correct) 419 (914 is correct)

Word list memory – Ask the player to repeat these three words from earlier: Girl, Dog Green


Concussion is a brain injury and players should not return to play until symptom-free and all the test are carried out. Risk of re-injury is high; leading to recurrent concussion; causing long term damage. Should symptoms persist SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE. Don’t take the risk. The game is not worth it!

For more information on concussions go to CONCUSSION.IE 


I always like to hear your opinions and views. If you feel you have something to say, please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. As always, thanks for reading.

Childrens Health

‘Everything You Need to Know about fitness is wrong’

So much going around about strength and conditioning, it’s hard to know what is right or wrong. but ultimately it goes back to 5 key lifting activities. I always wondered how these prisoners got so fit. No specialised equipment, no gimmicks, no late-night infomercial tchotchkes, no gym membership. They don’t even have dumbbells. It’s just them. In a room. With endless potential….. for sure the results they achieve in such a small space, is because of hard work. Daniel Duane has some interesting views on the 5 key lifting activities that will shape you and provide the greatest return for you effort. 

Here Are Some Of The Key Points:

  • Men’s Journal author Daniel Duane provides an interesting and provocative commentary on “getting fit”, you can listen to the CaptainU podcast below. Some of his points are:
  • The gym is your enemy- best to work with free weights on the periphery of the gym and avoid the various machines highlighted in the middle
  • Five key lifting activities will provide the greatest return for your effort: squat, deadlift, pushup, pullup, bench press
  • You can lift and train far less often than you think, as long as you are smart about using the key lifts. 3 days a week, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • No matter the sport, ignore strength at your own peril
  • Once you start and continue with this type of training you’ll develop the freedom to train yourself for life

Daniel Duane wrote an outstanding article for Men’s Journal in 2010 highlighting his journey through the world of fitness and personal training. I highly recommend you listen to the podcast from CaptainU below, and for additional background read the original article from Men’s Journal.  The podcast is specifically focused on gaining muscle strength and in the article he covers other aspects of fitness.

One key aspect I’d like to point out for our young athletes that we’ve written about before: the young athlete must have proper form from the start in order to minimize the chances of injury to growing bones and joints.  While Mr. Duane believes a good personal trainer can be invaluable in teaching proper form, he also acknowledges that these really good trainers are hard to find. My best advice to you is to ask around in your youth sports community about excellent trainers, then do your research on specific qualifications and experience working with young athletes.  Enjoy the podcast!

Daniel Duane PODCAST

Content thanks to Dev K. Mishra, M.D. – President, Sideline Sports Doc (Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University)


I always like to hear your opinions and views. If you feel you have something to say, please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. As always, thanks for reading.

I’m also on twitter @Coachdiary

Childrens Health Soccer Parents

15 of the best blogs on preventing sports injuries in kids by Summer

Emma sent me this post from it’s certainly relevant to the coming weeks in Irish kids football; looking at some of the fixtures of u11s kids, due to the bad weather we know have a back-log of games. I noticed one team having 5 games this week and I’m talking about 10 and 11 year olds. This will most likely be the case for the next month for some of these teams. I wonder who would be liable if a child was to suffer injuries due to this amount of games, which could be potential 15/20 in one month?

As kids become more active in high level sports, they are also suffering from far more injuries related to those sports than ever before. As a parent, you are not helpless when it comes to injuries and your kids.

Make sure that you provide your kids with high quality, well-fitting equipment to play in.

Take opportunities to educate yourself about common injuries and how they can be prevented by using the right safety equipment and by your child taking the right preventative measures. Many injuries can be prevented simple by properly warming up and stretching. Find out more information for preventing sports injuries in the following 15 blog entries.

Often kids don’t want to wear protective gear because they think other kids will make fun of them or that it will affect how well they play.

Common Injuries in Kids

The following entries go over the most common sports injuries in kids.  Just being aware of what can happen to a child while playing a sport can make you more aware of different symptoms to look for.  Do you know the signs of a concussion?  Concussions can be fatal if left untreated or ignored.  Children, unlike adult athletes, are still growing and often suffer growth plate related injuries.  For details on these common sports injuries and more, read the next five blog posts.

Common injury areasUse the Right Equipment

Many injuries can be prevented just by using the right equipment, such as wearing protective eyewear and using mouth guards.  By wearing the correct helmet, a serious brain injury can be prevented if a child falls off a bike or gets tackled on a football field.

Often kids don’t want to wear protective gear because they think other kids will make fun of them or that it will affect how well they play.  If the equipment fits them well, however, it should not affect how they play since it was designed to keep them safe during activity.

For more information on how equipment can prevent injuries, read through these five blog articles.

How to Prevent Injuries

As a parent, you can actively help prevent your child from getting injured.  Make sure that the rules are explained in detail to him.  Make sure he understands the rules and knows how to use the equipment safely.  Learn how to prevent injuries by reading through these five blogs entries.

By Summer Nanny blog

Childrens Health

We must keep kids in sport!

Tonight I attended the Spike Milligan public speaking competition which prompted me to write about some of the things they discussed.  
The number of children in Ireland suffering from social dysfunction, withdrawal, depression and other mental health issues has risen because of the recession. 
The number of people under the age of 18 coming forward for treatment at some frontline clinics has increased by as much as 30 per cent in the past two years
Children under 18 years comprise 25% of the population i.e. one million. Overall, 1 in 5 children in Ireland have a mental or behavioural disorder at any one time. We must keep kids in sports!
‘Its all in the mind, you know. Spike Milligan’
Exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. Research on anxiety, depression and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help reduce anxiety and improve mood.
For that reason alone we must encourage kids in sports and become mentors to keeping them involved for the rest of their lives. This year I have decided to get involved in the community games for my area. You too can get involved, by helping out with a team from your own community.
For more information visit Community Games Website, this is a great way to get kids back into sport and representing their community.

Depression and Younge People: by

Coping with depression when you’re young

We all feel low at times in our life. We can feel like no-one understands us, that others are putting too much pressure on us or that our friends are more popular or better than us. Depression can be a very physical experience with extreme fatigue in body and mind. It’s natural to feel bad sometimes, but when we feel like this for weeks at a time with no break, it’s possible that we may have a bout of depression and we need to get help with it.

  • Depression is a really common condition that affects up to 10% of teenagers at any one time. It affects how we feel about ourselves and others, makes us feel tired all the time, causes us to lose interest in hobbies, school and friendships, and it makes us want to hide away from the world.
  • Although depression can be hard to deal with and we can feel scared, it’s important to remember that thre are many ways that we can help ourselves and many supports that we can access to help us get through it.
  • Talking to your parents is important. You may think that they can’t possibly understand but it is vital that you give them the opportunity to help. Finding the words to describe what you’re feeling can be hard, but it’s really important to try.
  • As with any health problem, it’s important to see a GP to find out exactly what’s going on. Some physical health issues can cause similar symptoms to depression and no matter what the cause is, help is available. Hormonal changes that we go through in adolescence can have an impact on mood too, so checking in with someone who knows about these things can give us a lot of reassurance.
  • Exercise and spending time outdoors is important to help lift our mood and reduce stress and anxiety. It can be difficult to find the motivation to exercise so try to built it into your everyday routine – can you walk to school? Take a brisk stroll around the block at lunchtime? The more you practice, the more it will become part of your routine and it will make you feel better.
  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Sugary foods lead to a sharp drop in blood sugar later and this leads to energy and mood slumps. Caffeine causes increased heart rate and interferes with sleep; remember fizzy drinks like Coke contain caffeine too.
  • Alcohol is a depressant and can prove a potent trigger to low mood, especially in individuals prone to depression. The human brain is still developing until the age of 25 so street drugs like cannabis can have a devastating impact on mental health as well.
  • Many people find writing useful and it can have therapeutic benefits. Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a writer: simply writing a few sentences at the end of each day can help to relieve some concerns, and looking back over things you have written previously can show how far you have come. No one need ever read what you have written. If you need help getting started, check out our Mood Diary template.
  • Above all, do not try to deal with depression on your own. Reach out to family and friends, and where help and support is offered, take it. Remember – you are not alone.

For more information visit