Nursery focuses on Agility, Balance & Co-ordination.  The Nursery Program introduces little athletes (6-9 years) to athletics in a fun, engaging and non-competitive environment.

It focuses on the use of games to develop fitness whilst enhancing agility, co-ordination and balance. These are the fundamentals to long term physical athletic development.

Training takes place once a week for 60 minutes.  Training is Wednesday in Naomh Mearnog from 5 – 6pm.

 Training may be cancelled on occasions where there is an inadequate number of coaches available that would potentially jeopardize the safety of the children.


The Juvenile section of Portmarnock Athletic Club is broken up into different groups depending on age and ability. Juveniles train between once and four times weekly depending on the group they are assigned to. All groups were possible have a ratio of 1:10 (one coach per ten athletes)  this is always subject to volunteers / coach numbers and availability.  The club actively seek to recuit new coaches on a continuous basis. 

 Training may be cancelled on occasions where there is an inadequate number of coaches available that would potentially jeopardize the safety of the children.

 Within Juveniles, we have competitive (enter competition regularly U12 and above) and non-competitive (maintain a level of fitness through fun) athletes.

Competitive Athletes

This section train three or four times weekly. Monday is reserved for a long run for middle distance athletes and sprint drills for sprinters.   On Tuesdays, the training of this group is mainly strength and conditioning workouts. The third training session each week takes place on Wednesday and works on speed and agility. The fourth session is Friday for sprinters and Saturday for middle distance athletes.

Non-competitive Athletes

Non-competitive athletes train with the club once a week. They follow a training program spread over eight to twelve weeks depending on the time of year and give the athletes training in the different events of athletics in a more relaxed environment. Each group will train and move around three or four different disciplines for each training session so as to maintain interest in the training and increase the fun factor of athletics. All athletes in the non-competitive groups attend training to improve or maintain a healthy fitness level but above all have fun among their peers in a safe environment. Regular auditing of the different groups allows athletes to move to different groups so as to increase their experience. This allows them to achieve new goals. It is also very possible for many of the athletes in the non-competitive groups to move across to the competitive groups

Ages for competition:

The athletics association  year runs from January to December when looking at age - it differs to other sports in that each child appears to run up a year - for example in soccer / GAA etc if a child is u 11 they are u 11 at the start of the year but will turn 11 in that year- in athletics the child must be under 11 for all  of that year- so will be 9 on 1st January and turn 10 sometime in that year 

the ages for competing for each child is as follows:

-          under 9 -  on the first of January the child will be 7 and the child will turn 8 by the 31 December in that year

-          under 10 -  on the first of January the child will be 8 and the child will turn 9 by the 31 December in that year

-          under 11 -  on the first of January the child will be 9 and the child will turn 10 by the 31 December in that year

-          under 12 -  on the first of January the child will be 10 and the child will turn 11 by the 31 December in that year

-          under 13 -  on the first of January the child will be 11 and the child will turn 12 by the 31 December in that year

-          under 14 -  on the first of January the child will be 12 and the child will turn 13 by the 31 December in that year

-          under 15 -  on the first of January the child will be 13 and the child will turn 14 by the 31 December in that year

-          under 16 -  on the first of January the child will be 14 and the child will turn 15 by the 31 December in that year

-          under 17 -  on the first of January the child will be 15 and the child will turn 16 by the 31 December in that year

-          under 18 -  on the first of January the child will be 16 and the child will turn 17 by the 31 December in that year

-          under 19 -  on the first of January the child will be 17 and the child will turn 18 by the 31 December in that year



Code of Conduct for Parents/Guardians

Portmarnock Athletic Club is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable environment in which our young athletes can train and compete. Although the primary responsibility in providing this environment lies with our volunteers, coaches and officials, parents also have important responsibilities if the experience for our young athletes is to be positive. All parents must therefore follow the following rules:

  • Always encourage and support your child in a positive manner.

  • Adopt a positive attitude to their children’s participation in our games.

  • Do not exert undue pressure on your child.

  • Ensure your child is on time for training and competitions and that you are available for your child at all times.

  • Inform the coaches, and any other relevant Club personnel, of any changes in their child’s medical or dietary requirements prior to coaching sessions, games or other related activities.

  • Children should not be sent to training if they are unwell or have an injury.

  • Children will not be permitted to take part in training sessions if they are not physically fit to do so. A medical certificate should be provided by the parent/guardian stating that the child is fit to take part in physical activity.

  • Collect your child immediately once training is finished.

  • Ensure your child behaves in an appropriate manner and respects his/her fellow athletes as well as the volunteers within our club.

  • Encourage and guide your child to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour.

  • Provide your child with adequate clothing.

  • Set a good example by recognising fair play and applauding good performances of all the young athletes in our and other clubs.

  • Never punish or belittle a child for losing or making mistakes.

  • Support your child's involvement and help them to enjoy their sport.

  • Show approval whether the Child wins or loses a competition.

  • Use correct and proper language at all times.

  • Discourage unfair play and always respect coaches and officials within our club and at events.

  • Publicly accept officials judgments.

  • Respect officials’ decisions and encourage children to do likewise.

  • Respecting the rights, dignity and worth of every person and by treating each one equally regardless of age, gender, ability, ethnic origin, cultural background or religion.

  • Focus on and help your child to recognise good performance, not just results.

  • Never force your child to take part in sport or exert pressure to achieve a desired result.


Bullying Policy

Bullying is defined as repeated aggression conducted by an individual or group against others and may be verbal, psychological or physical. It is behaviour that is intentionally aggravating and intimidating and includes teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting behaviour. Bullying may occur in social environments including in school, in sports clubs and on social media.

 Warning signs

The following indicators may suggest a child is being bullied and should be investigated:

  • Reluctance to come to a venue or take part in activities.

    Physical signs (e.g. bruises, scratches, or damage to belongings).

    Stress-related illness/symptoms including, stomach upset and headaches

    Fearful behaviour (fear of walking to a meeting, going different routes, asking to be driven).

     Frequent loss of, or shortage of, money with vague explanations.

    Having few friends.

    Changes in behaviour (withdrawn, stammering, moody, irritable, upset, distressed).

    Not eating.

    Attempting suicide or hinting at suicide.

    Anxiety (shown by nail-biting, fearfulness, tics).

Dealing with bullying

Dealing with bullying is normally the responsibility of the Child Welfare Officers and/or other official within the club, although extreme cases may require input from An Garda Síochana and/or HSE Social Services.


  • Ensure that all members follow the code of conduct, which promotes the rights and dignity of each member.

    Immediately deal with any incidents.

    Use a whole group policy or "no-blame approach", i.e., not "bullying the bully" but working with bullies and the group of young people, helping them to understand the hurt they are causing, and so make the problem a "shared concern" of the group, (see below).

    Reinforce that there is "a permission to tell" culture rather than a "might is right."

    Encourage young people co-operate and help others.

    Offer the victim immediate support and put the "no blame approach" into operation.

    Never tell a young person to ignore bullying.

    Never encourage a young person to take the law into their own hands.

    Tell the victim there is nothing wrong with them and it is not their fault.

The ‘No Blame’ Approach?

Step 1 - Interview with the victim

If you find that there has been an incident of bullying, first talk to the victim. At this stage find out who was involved and what the victim is now feeling. Try asking the following questions:

  • Was it verbal or physical intimidation?

    How hurt is the victim?

    Was it within his/her own peer group?

    Ensure the victim that his/her name will not come out in the investigation.

    Actively listen.

Step 2 - Meet with all involved

Arrange to meet with all those involved; this should include some bystanders, those who may have colluded, those who joined in and those who initiated the bullying.

·        Have a maximum of six to eight in the group - keep the number controllable.

·        Make a point of calling a ‘special’ meeting.

·        Ensure all understands the severity of the topic.

·        Speak only of the hurt caused in general terms with no reference to the victim.

·        Play on the conscience of all - ask questions like: How would you feel?

·        Would you like it done to you?

Step 3 - Explain the problem

The distress being suffered as a result of the bullying incident is explained. At this stage the details of the incident or the allocation of the blame is not discussed.

Explain the feelings of loneliness, feeling left out, rejected, laughed at. Try asking questions:

·        Would they like it if it happened to them?

·        ‘Someone here in this group was bullied by someone within the group, what could we do to see it does not happen again?’

·        Listen, watch out for reactions, and pick up on any without isolating anyone

Step 4 - Share the responsibility

Explain what steps/controls may have to be introduced to prevent further incidents and how everyone will lose out as a result.

Step 5 - Ask the group for their ideas

At this stage the group is encouraged to suggest ways that would make the victim feel happier. All positive responses are noted. Use phrases "if it were you" to encourage a response. Listen to all suggestions and note them.

Step 6 - Leave it to them

Now the problem has been identified, solutions suggested, the problem is now handed over to the group to solve. Arrange to meet again in a week’s time. Pass responsibility over to the group and give a time frame within which something must be done.

Step 7 - Meet them again

Each member of the group, including the bully, discuss how things are going, who is doing what and have there been other incidents. This allows for continual monitoring and also keeps all involved in the process. Again enforce the idea of the "team" looking after each other.