Code of Conduct – Coaches

  • Coaches will respect the rights, dignity and worth of every athlete and treat everyone equally, regardless of background or ability.
  • Coaches will place the welfare and safety of the athlete above the development of performance.
  • Coaches will encourage and guide athletes to accept and take responsibility for their own behaviour and performance.
  • Coaches will be appropriately qualified and update their coaching licence as and when required by UK athletics.
  • Coaches will ensure that the activities they guide or advocate are appropriate for the age, maturity, experience and ability of the individual athlete.
  • Coaches will at the outset, clarify with athletes (and where appropriate their parents or carers) exactly what is expected of them and what athletes are entitled to expect from the coach.
  • Coaches will actively encourage athletes to compete for the club in team competitions, e.g. track and field league meetings, cross country league races and regional and national road relays and cross country championships.
  • Coaches will co-operate fully with other colleagues (eg other coaches, officials, team managers, sport scientists, doctors, physiotherapists and governing body staff) in the best interest of the athlete.
  • Coaches will consistently promote aspects of the sport (eg fair play) and never condone rule violations or the use of prohibited or age-inappropriate substance.
  • Try to observe a recommended maximum ratio of 1 coach to 12 athletes at a training session or work in partnership with another coach/coaching assistant
  • Coaches will develop appropriate working relationships with athletes (especially under18’s), based on mutual trust and respect. In particular, a coach will not exert undue influence to obtain personal benefit or reward.
  • Coaches will consistently display high standards of behaviour and appearance.
  • Coaches should never try to recruit, either overtly or covertly, athletes who are already receiving coaching from another coach (whether or not licensed by UKA).
  • All coaches and club officials who work with young athletes must submit their names for a police check. Club coaches will be asked to ensure they renew their licence and DBS every three years. All coaches working with young athletes should attend a recognised child protection course.

Dealing with Complaints

An adult may become aware of abuse/poor practice in a number of ways. A child may tell you, a third party may report incidents or suspicions or you may have seen an incident or have strong suspicions.


  • Stay calm; do not rush into inappropriate action.
  • Reassure the child: he or she is not to blame and make it clear that you know how difficult it must be to confide. Communication should be at the child’s pace without pressure.
  • Listen to what the child is saying and show that you are taking him/her seriously; do not bring any other adults in at this stage, any discrepancies in statements may lead to legal problems.
  • Keep questions to minimum use open –ended questions.
  • Explain to the child what steps you intend to take having heard their account.
  • Ensure that you clearly understand what the child has said and record it as soon as possible after the conversation.

Your report should include:

  • Child’s name, address and date of birth
  • Date, time and nature of the incident
  • The child’s own account of what happened
  • An account of any action you took
  • Sign and date the report and refer it to the club child protection officer, so that a decision can be made as to the most appropriate action. Keep a copy and ensure maximum confidentiality is maintained.

Do not

  • Ignore what has been disclosed or make promises you cannot keep.
  • Make the child repeat the story unnecessarily.
  • Delay
  • Take sole responsibility for further action.

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