Updated guidance on outdoor training and coaching in Northern Ireland

Updated guidance on outdoor training and coaching in Northern Ireland

Following recent lockdown relaxations announced by the First Minister, the key points from the current guidance are:

  • Personal training and coaching is allowed in small groups of up to 10 people (including the trainer/coach) from different households, provided that it takes place outdoors and all social distancing and hygiene measures are observed.
  • Training and coaching can take place in a public outdoor space or private garden, while observing social distancing and hygiene rules.
  • You must ensure that there is sufficient space to allow social distancing within your group and clear separation from any other groups nearby; before, during and after the activity.
  • A trainer or coach can meet with multiple clients (or groups) per day but should avoid overlapping sessions to prevent congregation of people. Clients should arrive, train/practice and leave promptly.
  • Indoor sport facilities must remain closed at this time.
  • Do not travel with someone from outside your household unless social distancing can be maintained.
  • You should not go inside someone else’s house and you should avoid using shared facilities such as bathrooms. If you must go through a house to access a garden, do that quickly without touching surfaces.
  • When participating in training or coaching, aim for no shared contact with hard surfaces e.g. equipment. If this is unavoidable, thoroughly disinfect surfaces in between use by different participants or groups.
  • Parents can take their children to a one-to-one outdoor training/coaching session, provided the gathering does not exceed 10 people.
  • Sports coaches or trainers undertaking one-to-one sessions should ensure they are complying with relevant National Governing Body Safeguarding Policies and Procedures and conduct a thorough risk assessment before engaging in any sessions. This should include particular consideration for under 18s and vulnerable adults, ensuring that all activity is low risk and within the capability of the participant.
  • Risk assessments must be carried out and documented at all sites. Consider safety first, particularly minimising the risk of infection/transmission. Appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures must be put in place to ensure participants, staff and volunteers are always protected.
  • Appropriate insurance policies should be in place for all activities.
  • The use of outdoor gyms is not permitted and use of equipment should be kept to a minimum (and only used if stringent hygiene practices can be assured, meaning the thorough cleaning of all equipment before and after use).

Personal training and coaching falls into the “non-contact” category of sport, as outlined in the Sport NI Framework to guide progression towards a resumption of sport and physical recreation in Northern Ireland. Click HERE to read the latest information from Sport NI.

Tara Dillon (CIMSPA CEO) said:

“This updated guidance will give further relief to many in our sector in Northern Ireland who have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis, and will enable some of them to get back to providing a valuable service to their customers. We would urge everyone to adhere strictly to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s social distancing and hygiene guidelines, keep the safety of themselves and their customers as their number one priority and check with their insurance provider to ensure they have the appropriate cover in place.”

CIMSPA has also issued detailed guidance on outdoor training in England,Scotland and Wales, following dialogue with DCMS, Sport England, sportscotland and the Welsh Sports Association.

We are also in dialogue with the relevant authorities to seek clarity on the guidance for outdoor training in Wales and will provide an update as soon as possible. Follow the links for the latest official advice in Wales.

CIMSPA has several digital resources available to support the sector during the coronavirus crisis, including:

  • ReOpen – an online hub offering guidance and resources to support the sector in reopening facilities, when permitted.
  • Stronger Together Hub – a range of resources and advice to support businesses and individuals.
  • Stronger Together Facebook Group – an open community for all those working in the sector.


For further details on the Northern Irish Assembly’s latest guidance




Will insurance cover PTs who are training clients, following the guidelines, whilst the ‘lockdown’/social distancing is still in play?

If you are normally covered for personal training that you are qualified to do, then you should still be covered, but please check with your insurance provider if you have any doubts.

Can people train in a private indoor space if there is room to fully adhere to social distancing?

No, it has to take place outdoors.

Who do we contact for queries about permissions to use outdoor spaces?

In most cases, you don’t need permission to use public outdoor spaces in this way, but if you are unsure you should contact the local authority responsible for the space.

I have seen that some full contact sports have resumed training but haven’t seen anything about my sport, can I train clients?

For full guidance on specific sports clubs and equipment usage please contact your National Governing Body and they will be able to answer your questions on club reopening guidance.