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Code of Ethics for Coaches
IAAF IAAF

Permission to reproduce "The IAAF Code of Ethics for Coaches" has been kindly provided by Peter J. L. Thompson of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Throughout the IAAF Coaches Education and Certification System "he", "him" and "his" have been used inclusively and are intended to apply to both men and women. It is important in athletics, as elsewhere, that women and men should have equal status and equal opportunities.

Introduction

The IAAF Code of Ethics for Coaches' basic principle is that ethical considerations leading to fair play are integral, and not optional, elements of all sports activity. These ethical considerations apply to all levels of ability and commitment. They include recreational as well as competitive Athletics.

The Code provides a sound ethical framework to combat modern-day society pressures. Many of these pressures appear to be undermining the traditional foundation of sport - foundations built on fair play and sportsmanship and, in many instances, on the voluntary movement.

Fair play is defined as much more than playing within the rules. Fair play is a way of thinking, not just a way of behaving. Fair play can be expressed as a philosophy of coaching and incorporates friendship, respect for others and always playing in the right spirit. This philosophy also integrates issues concerned with eliminating cheating, doping, gamesmanship, physical and verbal violence, exploitation, unequal opportunities, excessive commercialisation and corruption.

Sport is a cultural activity which, practiced fairly, offers the individual the opportunity for personal development through self-knowledge, self-determination, self-expression and self-fulfilment. This individual development leads to personal achievement, skill acquisition and demonstration of ability; social interaction, moral maturation, enjoyment, good health and well-being. Sport promotes active involvement and responsibility of the individual within society.

It has been said that Athletics has a place above all other sports. The component skills are fundamental to most other sports, and modern training theory originated and developed in Athletics. It is the most international of all sports and is the central focus of the Olympic Games. Coaches in Athletics are in a privileged position in preparing several generations of athletes for their contribution to Athletics. With this privilege comes a certain responsibility. This responsibility is that through the work of the individual coach and how it is carried out, an image of coaching is projected to athletes and other coaches and those not involved in coaching. Whether these coaches in Athletics are in paid employment or working as volunteers, they enjoy a high profile as representatives of the sport.

The development of fair play or sportsmanlike behaviours and attitudes is not an automatic consequence of participating in Athletics. These fair play behaviours can be learned from the coach who provides a positive role model and applies consistent, clear reinforcement for desirable and undesirable actions. TTherefore, the coach's role is crucial as an ambassador, educator and guardian of the ethical values of fair play within Athletics.

The Code of Ethics

The coach's primary role is to facilitate individual development through the achievement of Athletic potential. This role accepts the athletes' long-term interests as greater than short-term athletic considerations. The coach's ethical considerations must apply to all levels of ability and commitment and include recreational and competitive Athletics. To fulfil this role, the coach must behave in an ethical manner reflecting the following points:

Respect for Human Rights

Coaches must respect the basic human rights, the equal rights, of each athlete with no discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, association with a national minority, birth or another status. This respect must extend to maintaining the dignity and recognising every individual's contribution within Athletics and society as a whole. Also, coaches must respect each athlete's basic human right to participate in Athletics with freedom from verbal, physical or sexual harassment and freedom from inappropriate physical or sexual advances or behaviour.

Respect of Rules

Coaches must acknowledge and respect that Track and Field Athletics is governed by the rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations, their National Federation or another appropriately recognised governing body. This respect should extend to the spirit and to the letter of the rules, in both training and competition, to ensure fairness of competitive opportunity between all athletes. Respect for officials should be active, by accepting the role of the officials in providing judgement to ensure that competitions are conducted fairly and according to the established rules.

Coaches must accept that they have a responsibility to encourage the athletes they coach to respect the spirit of the rules.This includes the spirit and manner of behaviour towards opponents, other coaches and officials. Coaches have a responsibility to influence the performance and conduct of the athletes they coach, while at the same time encouraging the independence and self-determination of each athlete by their acceptance of responsibility for their own decisions, conduct and performance.

Coaches must assert a positive and active leadership role to prevent any use of prohibited drugs or other disallowed performance-enhancing substances or practices. This leadership from coaches should include the athlete's education of the harmful effects, both ethically and medically, of prohibited substances and practices.

Respect of other Coaches

The coach must acknowledge that all coaches have an equal right to desire the success of the athletes they coach - competing within the rules. Coaches must deal with other coaches in the way they would wish to be dealt with themselves, with the courtesy due to a colleague and the respect due to a fellow man or woman. Observations, recommendations and criticism must be directed to the appropriate person or persons using professionally accepted procedures outside the view or hearing of the public domain.

Coaches must never solicit, either overtly or covertly, athletes who are receiving coaching to join their squad or change their coaching situation without first involving, and then continuing to include, the current personal coach or coaches. Suppose an athlete enters into a discussion with a coach connected with the current coaching relationship, while another coach or coaches are already coaching the athlete. In that case, the present coach must be informed by the coach and athlete as soon as is practical.

The coach must acknowledge and recognise that all athletes have a right to pursue their athletic potential, including when an athlete's development would benefit from a change of coaching situation. The coach should ensure that, in these cases, any formation of a coaching partnership or transfer to another coach is actively explored with the athlete, whose decision is supported.

Respect for Proficiency

Although there is no substitute for practical coaching experience, coaches must hold recognised coaching qualifications. Coaches must respect that the gaining of coaching qualifications is an ongoing commitment, achieved by upgrading their knowledge through accredited courses and practical coaching experience.

Coaches must ensure that the practical environments they create and the physical and psychological challenges they set for each athlete are appropriate. This appropriateness must consider the age, maturity and skill level of the athlete and provide for all necessary safety aspects. This is particularly important in younger or less developed athletes and all Athletes with Disability.

Respect of the Coaches Image

Coaches must respect the image and role of the coach. There is a responsibility that through the work of the individual coach, and how it is carried out, an image of coaching is projected to athletes, to other coaches and those not involved in coaching. The coach must also recognise that their role includes an athlete's education for life through Athletics and not merely an athlete's knowledge of Athletics.

To transmit a positive image, the coach must continuously maintain the highest standards of personal conduct, reflected in both the manner of appearance and behaviour. This conduct must conform to their National Federation and the IAAF rules. In particular, coaches must never smoke while coaching, nor consume alcoholic beverages so soon before coaching that it affects their competence or that alcohol smell is on their breath.

Respect for the Esprit de Corps

Coaches must enter into full co-operation with all individuals and agencies that could play a role in the development of the athletes they coach. Coaches must deal with these individuals in the way they would wish to be dealt with themselves, with the courtesy due to a colleague and the respect due to a fellow man or woman. Observations, recommendations and criticism must be directed to the appropriate person or persons using professionally accepted procedures outside the view or hearing of the public domain.

Coaches must also share the knowledge and practical experience they gain and be available as a resource, contributing to Athletics' promotion and development. This includes working openly with other coaches, using sports scientists and sports physicians' expertise, through to displaying active support of their National Federation and the IAAF.

Summary

The IAAF Code of Ethics for Coaches' basic principle is that ethical considerations leading to fair play are integral, and not optional, elements of all sports activity. These ethical considerations apply to all levels of ability and commitment. They include recreational as well as competitive Athletics.

The development of fair play or sportsmanlike behaviours and attitudes is not an automatic consequence of participating in Athletics. These fair play behaviours can be learned from the coach who provides a positive role model and applies consistent, clear reinforcement for desirable and undesirable actions. TTherefore, the coach's role is crucial as an ambassador, educator and guardian of the ethical values of fair play within Athletics.

The coach's primary role is to facilitate individual development through the achievement of Athletic potential. This role accepts the athletes' long-term interests as greater than short-term athletic considerations. To fulfil this role, the coach must behave ethically, respecting the following points:

  • Coaches must respect the basic human rights, the equal rights, of each athlete with no discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, association with a national minority, birth or another status.
  • Coaches must respect the dignity and recognise the contribution of each individual. This includes respecting the right to freedom from physical or sexual harassment and advances.
  • Coaches must ensure that practical environments are safe and appropriate. This appropriateness must take into consideration the age, maturity and skill level of the athlete. This is particularly important in the case of younger or less developed athletes.
  • Coaches must acknowledge and respect the Rules of Competition. This respect must extend to the spirit and the letter of the rules, in both training and competition, to ensure fairness of competitive opportunity between all athletes.
  • Coaches must exhibit active respect for officials, by accepting the role of the officials in providing Elements to ensure that competitions are conducted fairly and according to the established rules.
  • Coaches have a responsibility to influence the performance and conduct of the athletes they coach, while at the same time encouraging the independence and self-determination of each athlete by their acceptance of responsibility for their own decisions, conduct and performance.
  • Coaches must assert a positive and active leadership role to prevent any use of prohibited drugs or other disallowed performance-enhancing substances or practices. This leadership by coaches includes education of the athletes of the harmful effects of prohibited substances and practices.
  • The coach must acknowledge that all coaches have an equal right to desire the success of the athletes they coach - competing within the rules. Observations, recommendations and criticism must be directed to the appropriate person outside the view or hearing of the public domain.
  • Coaches must never solicit, either overtly or covertly, athletes who are receiving coaching to join their squad or change their coaching situation without first involving, and then continuing to involve, the current personal coach or coaches.
  • The coach must acknowledge and recognise that all athletes have a right to pursue their athletic potential, including when an athlete's development would benefit from a change of coaching situation. The coach must ensure that, in these cases, any formation of a coaching partnership or transfer to another coach is actively explored with the athlete, whose decision is supported.
  • Coaches must hold recognised coaching qualifications. Coaches must respect that the gaining of coaching qualifications is an ongoing commitment, achieved by upgrading their knowledge through accredited courses and practical coaching experience. Coaches also have a responsibility to share the knowledge and practical experience they gain.
  • Coaches must respect the coach's image and continuously maintain the highest standards of personal conduct, reflected in both the manner of appearance and behaviour. Coaches must never smoke while coaching or in the presence of athletes, nor consume alcoholic beverages so soon before coaching that it affects their competence or that the smell of alcohol is on their breath.
  • Coaches must enter into full co-operation with all individuals and agencies that could play a role in the development of the athletes they coach. TThis includes working openly with other coaches, using sports scientists and sports physicians' expertise, and displaying active support of their National Federation and the IAAF.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (1997) Code of ethics for Coaches [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/iaafethics.htm [Accessed