Coaching in the UK

UK Coaching statement regarding bullying in sport

Fri, 14 Jul 2017

In response to recent media reports regarding alleged athlete abuse claims, UK Coaching has the following statement:

The UK Coaching Code of Practice for Sports Coaches outlines what constitutes as good coaching practice.

In the Code, under the principle of ‘Relationships’, it states that: ‘Coaches must develop a relationship with their participants (and others) based on openness, honesty, mutual trust and respect.'

Part of this is a coach’s responsibility not to engage in behaviour that constitutes any form of abuse, whether that is physical, sexual, neglect, emotional, bullying.

The need for coaches to understand and act on their responsibilities is vital to sport, as is the need to promote participation for fun and enjoyment.

Directly, coaches must put the welfare of their participants first.

If there is a cause for concern about the behaviour of an adult towards a child, adult at risk, or another adult, it is a coach’s responsibility to take action and report the matter to the person with responsibility for safeguarding in that coaching environment, e.g. club welfare officer, local authority children’s services, governing body of sport lead welfare officer. If a child or adult at risk is in immediate danger than you should always inform the police immediately.

Encouraging people to start in sport and physical activity, improves enjoyment, maintains engagement, improves fitness, develops skills and builds lifelong connections to keeping active.  

Coaches who abide by our Code will create healthy, positive environments for participants to thrive in – whatever their performance level.

Other principles from the Code a coach must take into account are:

  • Rights: Coaches must respect and champion the rights of every individual to participate in sport and physical activity.
  • Responsibilities – personal standards: Coaches must demonstrate proper personal behaviour and conduct at all times.
  • Responsibilities – professional standards: To maximise the benefits and minimise the risks to participants, coaches must attain an appropriate level of competence through qualifications, and a commitment to ongoing training to ensure safe and correct practice.

Our code of conduct can’t act in isolation and must be incorporated into, or work alongside operational items created by partners such as: governing bodies of sport and employer constitutions; governance documents; coach education and development processes; and be part of the policy and procedure for dealing with allegations and complaints, among other considerations.

It should also be supported by the appropriate coach training and resources, such as UK Coaching workshops: Safeguarding and Protecting Children, Equity in Your Coaching, Coach Clean (produced with UK Anti-Doping) and How to Coach Disabled People in Sport.

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