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British Athletics
Code of Ethics for Coaches
British Athletics

The following is a summary of the code of ethics for coaches as supplied by British Athletics, the UK's National governing body for Track & Field Athletics, to its registered coaches.


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

  • Coaches must respect basic human rights. Coaches should operate without 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 the practice environment is safe and appropriate. This 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 should extend to the spirit as well as to 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 ability of the officials 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 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 on 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. Observation, recommendations and criticism of coaching practice should be directed to the appropriate person outside the view or hearing of the public
  • Coaches should never solicit, either overtly or covertly, athletes who are already receiving coaching to join their squad
  • Coaches should hold recognised coaching qualifications. Coaches should respect that the gaining of coaching qualifications is an ongoing commitment achieved by upgrading their knowledge by attending accredited courses and practical coaching experience. Coaches also have a responsibility to share the knowledge and practical experience they gain
  • Coaches must respect the image of the coach and continuously maintain the highest standard of personal conduct, reflected in both the manner of appearance and behaviour
  • Coaches should seek out and fully co-operate with all individuals and agencies that could play a role in the development of the athletes they coach. This includes working openly with other coaches, using sports scientists and sports physicians' expertise, and displaying active support of their National Governing Body.

Page Reference

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

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) British Athletics - Code of Ethics for Coaches [WWW] Available from: [Accessed