We use cookies to give you the best experience and to help improve our website. By using our website you are accepting our cookies.  Learn More

UK Coaching Team
Talent and Performance Rapport Building and Communicating Organising and Planning

Arsenal FC’s Duty to Care: Championing Inclusive Coaching

As one of the world’s most prestigious football clubs with an academy reputation to match, Arsenal FC’s inclusive approach is helping to create confident young leaders on and off the pitch

This UK Coaching Week, we’re celebrating the outstanding coaches across the UK who understand their Duty to Care – the six-pillar framework designed by UK Coaching to ensure you’re putting your participants’ needs – their safety, well-being, and welfare – at the heart of your delivery. That’s what great coaching is all about.

Arsenal FC has taken an inclusive approach to player development that offers meaningful opportunities for participants to learn about important topics and develop as people as well as players. As part of their leadership groups, players from the under-nines all the way to the under-21s on the fringes of the first team work together on projects tackling sustainability, racism, and knife crime in London.

Lewis Goater, Lead Foundation Phase Coach at Arsenal Academy, reflected on the processes the club has implemented to provide the best environment for their young players, and how coaches across the nation can inspire young people to enjoy sport and physical activity.

We need to make sure that we’re not always top-down controlling with our coaching process, sometimes we need to guide the learning process, so we have to ensure we include the children at all times. From a practical sense, that includes asking questions, rather than ‘telling’ all the time, and making sure that players are part of the process when we create their individual development plans. It’s a wholly collaborative approach, where we are focused on helping our players have a voice as part of their journey."

This also includes working with parents. Building positive relationships with other people in the players’ lives helps to establish reliable and effective support networks.

"It’s a two-way process, not only involving players but also the parents wherever possible. We have to ensure we align expectations with their parents and ensure that we take on the responsibility to be that support mechanism and give them the information and help they need."

Empowering players to take ownership of their development and collaborate with their coaches is key to Arsenal FC’s inclusive approach.

If you give players a voice in their development, you’re also giving them a really important responsibility. Sometimes your instinct as a coach is to top-down control everything, but co-creation is vital to help young people develop, which starts with putting the child first."

UK Coaching prides itself on supporting the development of great coaches who transform the lives of individuals and communities, helping to create a happier and healthier society. In line with the commitment to be here for the coach, UK Coaching has released a Duty to Care Hub covering the six fundamental pillars of Duty to Care: Diversity, Inclusion, Mental Health and Well-being, Physical Well-being, Safeguarding, and Safe to Practice.

When it comes to including the voices of their young players, ensuring the work they do is collaborative, engaging, and above all, inclusive, Arsenal’s Academy setup offers a prime example of the principles of Duty to Care in action.

"Our vision is to create simultaneously the most challenging and most caring football academy in the world. We started our Leadership Group around five years ago, because we wanted to give the players a voice in their academy – because it is their academy as well – but also a platform for them to share their views, give feedback to us, and help us work together."

With a first-class reputation for producing talented and exciting footballers, Arsenal’s academy is committed to ensuring that inclusion is championed at every level, enabling players to develop transformative skills that can be applied on and off the pitch.

As adults, we have a duty of care to ensure that children have a voice and a platform to express themselves. Our overall vision is to develop what we would call 'strong young Gunners,' which could be Bukayo Saka, but it could equally be someone who isn’t playing professional football but has progressed to achieve the best they can, having come out of our academy with key life skills."

By championing the Duty to Care ethos, Arsenal FC is already seeing the best possible outcome – the development of both outstanding football players and outstanding people, demonstrating that embracing your Duty to Care as a coach is an important responsibility, but it also presents an opportunity to evolve your coaching and support your participants more effectively.

Duty to Care: Inclusion

Learn how to tailor your coaching to meet the needs of diverse audiences and discover practical tips to help you create a welcoming and supportive environment for all


Related Resources

  • How to Create an Inclusive Environment

  • Become an Inclusive Coach to Be a Better Coach

  • Success ‘Storey’! How GB Paralympians, GB Cycling and Great British Coaches are Transforming Lives


Power Your Coaching with Premium Membership


Transform your coaching with unlimited access to 1000+ resources and 24/7 support, including hundreds of money-saving discounts

UK Coaching Team