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The coach's primary role is to facilitate the process of individual development through achievement of athletic potential. This role accepts the athletes' long-term interests as 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 the basic human rights, that is the equal rights, of each athlete with no discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin. association with a national minority, birth or other status.


  • Coaches must respect the dignity and recognise the contribution of each individual. This includes the right from freedom from physical or sexual harassment and advances. They must ensure that the 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 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 an active respect for officials, 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 final responsibility for 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 should be directed to the appropriate person outside the view or hearing of the public domain.


  • 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 through the upgrading of their knowledge by attendance at accredited courses and through practical coaching experience.


  • Coaches should enter into full co-operation with all individuals and agencies that could play a role in the development of the athletes they coach. Coaches also have a responsibility to share the knowledge and practical experience they gain.


  • Coaches should work openly with other coaches, use the expertise of sports scientists and sports physicians, and display an active support of Scottish Athletics


  • Coaches must respect the image of the coach and continuously maintain the highest standards of personal conduct, reflected in both the manner of appearance and behaviour.


  • Coaches should never smoke while coaching, nor consume alcohol beverages so soon before coaching that it affects their competence or that the smell of alcohol is on their breath.

Adapted from “UK ATHLETICS ”


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