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Coaching Statements

UK Coaching's position on matters to do with athlete welfare, bullying, position of trust and safeguarding.

Athlete Welfare

 

UK Coaching has the highest regard for the welfare of both athlete and coach and considers this an absolute priority. Coaches have a responsibility to put the welfare of their participants first.

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

Coaches who abide by the Code will create healthy, positive environments for participants to thrive in, developing skills and fitness and building lifelong connections to keeping active – whatever their performance level.

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 or bullying.

To ensure welfare is at the heart of the UK Coaching Awards, UK Coaching appointed Professor David Lavallee, the first Professor of Duty of Care in Sport, to the event judging panel. UK Coaching is also in liaison with the British Athletes Commission to ensure the athletes’ voice is heard in this process.

Mark Gannon, Chief Executive Officer of UK Coaching, said:

“Coaching can transform lives and the benefits go much wider than learning or honing skills in sport and physical activity. Coaching can have positive benefits on physical and mental wellbeing and can act as a conduit for individual and social development.

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

“We will continue to promote the hugely positive benefits that the vast majority of coaches deliver to millions of people across the UK.”

Bullying

 

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.

Position of Trust

 

UK Coaching welcomes the  announcement that safeguarding legislation will be updated to include coaching as a ‘Position of Trust’. These measures are vital to ensure we are doing all we can to protect children and young people from potential harm.

However, what must be remembered is that the duty of care of a coach goes much wider than just this age group. Those who are coaching have a responsibility for their participants. It is of the utmost importance to create a safe environment for those taking part in sport and physical activity and for all people involved to be treated with respect.

We work in partnership with the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) to promote and advocate the highest of standards of safeguarding.

It is important that anyone can recognise any form of abuse and that they take the necessary steps to report it. This should be with a sport’s governing body or a club’s welfare officer. For any activity not affiliated to a governing body, these reports should be made to a county sports partnership or local children’s social care. If there is no one else to report an instance to, or if a child is in immediate danger, contact the police.

The vast majority of coaches provide great coaching and support to millions of people across the UK to reach their own goals and motivations. There are many wider holistic benefits that coaching offers, not only in sport but in society in general.

Making coaching sessions as safe as possible is essential to a lifetime habit of participation in, and enjoyment of, sport and physical activity.

Safeguarding

 

UK Coaching has the highest regard for the welfare of both participant and coach and considers this an absolute priority. Coaches have a responsibility to put the welfare of their participants first.

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

Inappropriate behaviour should not be tolerated and 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. 

If there is a cause for concern about the behaviour of an adult towards a child, adult at risk, or another adult it must be reported to the person with responsibility for safeguarding in that coaching environment, eg club welfare officer, local authority children’s services, governing body of sport lead welfare officer or the NSPCC directly. If a child or adult at risk is in immediate danger then you should always inform the police.

The vast majority of coaches play a critical role in introducing children and others to sport and physical activity, resulting in healthy lifestyles for millions of people. They can also act as sentinel reporters, identifying potential cases of abuse and alerting the authorities.

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, developing skills and fitness and building lifelong connections to keeping active – whatever their performance level.

Other principles from the Code that coaches 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.

For more than 20 years, we have worked closely with the NSPCC and Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) to set the right standards and to raise awareness among coaches of how to recognise and respond to matters of safeguarding children and adults at risk. We work with governing bodies of sport to train and educate coaches. Our safeguarding programme of workshops continues to be attended by over 20,000 coaches every year. 

Many employers have adopted our Minimum Standards for Active Coaches, which require every coach working with children to have a DBS check or Home Country equivalent. This is implemented via governing bodies of sport and employers.

Parents and guardians will have questions they want answered before allowing children or adults at risk to take part in sport or physical activity. If you are unsure what to ask, the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) recommends the following questions:

  • Does the organisation/club have a child protection policy?
  • Does the organisation/club have a written code of behaviour or code of conduct?
  • What training has been provided for staff and volunteers?

A club should welcome questions about their activities and policies. They have a responsibility to give this kind of information to anyone who leaves a child or adult at risk in their care. The concern page on the CPSU website illustrates the processes to use when there are concerns about possible abuse of a child or young person.

To report matters of safeguarding call the NSPCC confidential 24 hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 or Child Line for children and young people on 0800 1111.

Whilst we will never be complacent, we believe that people are enjoying sport and activity today within a safeguarding framework that is better than ever before. We will continue to work in partnership with the CPSU to promote and advocate the highest of standards across physical activity and sport.