Team South West (TSW) Juniors

Safeguarding policy

A PDF version of this document can be found here.

Welcome and background

Welcome to TSW Juniors Underwater Hockey; the most successful junior club in the history of the sport in Great Britain. We are passionate about our sport, but our driving forces are fun, safety and the joy and comradeship of team competition.

Our club sprang out of Totnes BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club), we are affiliated to The British Octopush Association, now known as Great Britain Under Water Hockey. Our World governing body is CMAS (Confederation Mondiale des Sports Aquatique et Sub-Aquatique). Saturday sessions at Dawlish Leisure Centre or at Teignmouth Lido are essentially run by Teignbridge Council, who provide supervision and Lifeguards.

We, who structure the sessions and coaching, are all volunteers; we have a volunteer Club Welfare Officer, Chris Broom. We have a safeguarding policy, but we recognise that safety and safeguarding is everyone's responsibility, ie players, coaches, committee and parental. There is a "Buddy Guarding" document on the BSAC website. See

Underwater hockey takes a lot of supervision; for that reason we encourage parents to watch regularly through the observation room. We also encourage parents to get into the pool with particularly the very youngest children. Underwater hockey is a robust sport; expect a few "knocks". Children under 8 often find it a little intimidating until they are used to it. Proficient swimming is absolutely essential; the presence of parents in the pool is often reassuring. You are welcome, but will have to pay for your session. Most of the coaching staff started in this way.

Session times

Our regular sessions are at Dawlish Leisure Centre, Saturday at 3.00pm. The basic session is from 3.00 - 4.00pm; we have the pool until 5.30pm. The second session is for very proficient players; we invite the juniors when we feel they are deemed to be suitably trained and robust for this session. We have additional sessions on Sunday evenings and mid-week; again, this is by invitation. We only advance players when we feel they are suitably prepared, and after discussion with the player and family.

If your child is selected to play in a competitive match he/she must join our club and be members of BOA (British Octopush Association). See the website at Membership is very cheap, and this includes match insurance (we also cover children with a separate club insurance covering travel and accommodation [but not internationally]).

There is kit to borrow at Dawlish Leisure Centre, but if your child is proficient you should be encouraged to purchase personal kit. Underwater hockey is a cheap sport; your child will benefit from having his/her own kit. The sessions are for mixed abilities, and structured appropriately. You should know that this is a mixed sport with both genders competing as equals, and that a Saturday session will feature players from absolute beginner level, up to international level. Many of our players have represented Great Britain at age group level and several coaches are similarly qualified as players and officials.

We have a code of conduct for players and officials which I will briefly outline. If your child is too young to understand please discuss the guidelines with your child.

Inappropriate and abusive language is not tolerated. We recognise that successes and disappointments should be appropriately and sensitively responded-to by colleagues and instructors.


Club contacts

If you are unhappy or merely quizzical about any aspect of TSW Juniors procedure please feel free to approach any committee member during sessions or via Email. We are:

Chairperson: Phil Shute
Chief Exec: Gerald Atkins
Treasurer: Aideen Tucker
Tour Manager: Richard Curle
Coaching: Aaron Lindsay
Tim Morgan
Club Welfare Officer: Chris Broom


Club costumes are usually available to buy (they are not essential, but encouraged for matches). They are low-cost and of extreme endurance quality; with regular use in chlorinated water they will last longer than any other kit. They are close fitting. Excess material contributes to drag and buoyancy in the water, slowing participants down.

Masks should have 2 lenses, NOT a single piece of glass/Perspex.

Snorkels should have a "purge valve". For matches a mouth guard is essential.

Fins should have a closed foot construction and smooth edges (buckles can injure in a minimal contact sport). Children grow quickly, it is not worth spending a great deal on fins until they have nearly finished growing.

Bats are a very personal choice and your child should be encouraged to try different designs before buying.

Ask on poolside for advice. Purchases can be made via the BOA website, which has a shop. More information and links can be found on our website at

Changing facilities

At Dawlish we use the standard, council facilities. There is single-sex communal changing. These are public facilities and will be used by other Leisure Centre users; coaches and officials are of necessity obliged to use the same facilities. It is NOT our policy to provide adult supervision of changing. All of our coaches and officials are DBS checked. Players and officials are asked to conduct themselves decently and in a non-threatening, non-discriminating way.

Our coaches

Underwater hockey was invented in the late fifties (in Southsea). It is a minority sport, with clubs widely scattered throughout Britain and internationally. Organisationally it therefore remains in its infancy. Coaching qualifications are therefore only recently becoming established/recognized.

TSW Juniors has been more successful than any other junior club in the history of the sport. We must be doing something right! All of our coaches are CRB/DBS checked. All are conversant with the BSAC code of conduct on safeguarding, equality and discrimination. Members of the coaching staff will attend the local authority-run seminars on safeguarding whenever available. We have a Club Welfare Officer, Chris Broom

Britain has about 100 clubs, and you can now play additionally at most British Universities. It is a very social sport; enthusiasts usually engage for life, and many generations can play together. The sport is in close to 40 nations and is therefore close to Olympic recognition/consideration.

We keep our coaching ratios very low, essential in a sport which takes place underwater, and needs a lot of scrutiny. For this reason we encourage parents to be involved very actively, including in the water. Most of us started in this way. Supervision is paramount; you do not need to be a past player to contribute, neither have ambitions to progress yourself. To set a group of 2-3 beginners a learning task becomes so much easier if a parent can keep an eye on them for the 5-10 minutes they will spend on that task. PLEASE get involved.

Parental involvement has taken this club ahead of all the other clubs in Britain; we must try to sustain this.


Underwater hockey clubs are few and far between, hence most competition is in a tournament setting, where children will play up to 10 or 12 games spread over an entire day, hence competing against every other team. Simple club games are rare. We compete at several tournaments: British Regional Championships, National Club Championships, Open and Invitation Tournaments, International Tournaments and we contribute many junior players to the Great Britain training squads and teams.

Competition therefore involves significant travel, and we endeavour to keep costs to a minimum. It is our policy that, wherever possible, travel to competitions should be provided by parents or co-operating parents with consent.

If we hire minibuses we will always strive to have more than one adult in each vehicle, and if possible, provide chaperones of both sexes. If cars are used we will always try to provide 2 adults in each car, with children separately seated in the back. We expect parents to bring their children to a common pick-up place and drop-off point (generally NOT lifts to the door).

Travelling arrangements will be explained to you in advance and on the day of travel, and signed parental consent will be required.


Tournaments are often many miles away, and can last all day; sometimes, therefore, it is essential to stay overnight before and or after the tournament, depending on where it is located.

In an effort to minimize costs, we use VERY low cost accommodation, often communal. Our preferred accommodation is local Scout huts. Whilst austere and basic, the children actually seem to like this! Sometimes this requires all players, coaches and officials sleeping in the same space, all children and all adults. We will always provide chaperones of both sexes (if both sexes are represented in the teams). Smoking is forbidden and alcohol (for the adults) is strongly discouraged.

Parents are actively encouraged to accompany their children on such trips, their involvement and contribution to catering and supervision is hugely facilitating and appreciated.


Underwater hockey is an aquatic sport wearing close-fitting swimwear. We do not encourage photography. Cameras and mobile phones are therefore not permitted for use in changing or pool areas. For Press purposes and publicity, occasionally, photography is required. All photographs used shall be decorous at all times. We have a parental consent policy. You WILL be asked if you approve of your child's name and photograph being used in Press releases. Parental consent is essential.

Finally, may we please ask you to sign, detach and return the slip appended? This is to satisfy our insurers, that you have received and understood the above information on joining the club.

© TSW Juniors