Coach's Code of Ethics

Ethics refers to the generally accepted norms of right or wrong behaviour, often based on universal values. Ethics is not about legality nor is it meant to be legalistic. One of the attributes of a profession is that the practitioners subscribe to and enforce ethical codes, which will help to demonstrate their commitment to providing quality services and expertise.

Coaches, due to their close interaction with athletes, exposure to the public, and the strong pressure to win, are vulnerable to various forms of ethical issues. If coaching is to be recognised as a profession, it is important that there exists a code of ethics for coaches. 

Coaches, by adhering to a code of ethics, would minimise the likelihood of being accused of unacceptable behaviour while projecting a sense of professionalism in their dealings with others.

The Coach's Code of Ethics set out herein has been drawn up by the Sport Singapore and is applicable to all National Registry of Coaches (NROC) registered coaches. Individual National Sports Associations could choose to adopt, or expand on, the Coach's Code of Ethics set out herein.

The Coach’s Code of Ethics aims to:
  • Provide an ethical framework that would guide coaches in determining appropriate behaviours
  • Raise the status of coaching as a vocation
  • Facilitate the self-regulation of coaching standards by coaches and consumers of coaching services by telling the public what is expected of coaches
  • Communicate to the public the professional attitude of registered NROC coaches, thereby encouraging greater confidence in these coaches

Key Principles of the Coach’s Code of Ethics

Three broad principles form the framework for the coach's code of ethics and are illustrated by a list of key ethical standards related to coaching.

The three principles are:
  1. Respect for Individuals
  2. Responsible Coaching
  3. Integrity in Actions 

Principle 1: Respect for Individuals

The concept that each individual possesses an intrinsic value and worth is integral to the principle of Respect for individuals. The coach is called upon to act in a manner respectful of the dignity of individuals.

Key Ethical Standards
  1. Treat and respect everyone equally, regardless of race, language, religion, culture, gender or physical ability.
  2. Recognise that your athletes can contribute in providing positive feedback on training methods and how best performance during training and competition could be optimised. Be a good listener when occasions for such interaction arise.
  3. Remember that there is a need for certain information to be kept confidential. Disclosure of such information should only be made with the consent of those who requested confidentiality.
  4. Be sensitive to the feelings of your athletes when providing feedback on their training progress and performance during competition. Criticisms, if any, should not be directed at the athlete, instead it should be on your athlete's performance. 

Principle: Responsible Coaching

The principle of Responsible Coaching requires that the coach be competent and that sufficient duty of care to the participants is being exercised such that the participants are not harmed. It encompasses the concept that risks to the participants are minimised and benefits to their holistic development are maximised.

Key Ethical Standards

  1. Be responsible for periodically updating your coaching expertise through participation in courses, conferences and workshops and through information available in resource materials.
  2. Prepare well-planned and sound training programmes and execute them in a manner that would benefit ail your athletes.
  3. Recognise the limits of your knowledge and collaborate with other qualified practitioners. Where appropriate, refer your athletes to a more qualified coach or specialist.
  4. Advise your injured athlete to seek further medical treatment and suggest an appropriate recovery plan whenever possible. When deciding on your injured athlete's ability to continue training or competing, do take into account his/her future health and general well-being.
  5. Ensure that training and competition venues meet with minimum safety standards and that your athletes are properly attired.
  6. Avoid sexual intimacy with your athlete. Any physical contact with your athletes should be only when absolutely necessary and during appropriate situations. 

Principle: Integrity in Actions

The principle of Integrity in Actions challenges the coaches to act with uprightness, wholeness and coherence. Coaches are expected to be honest, principled and honourable.

Key Ethical Standards

  1. Be honest and sincere when communicating with your athletes. Do not give false hopes to your athlete.
  2. Inform a fellow coach if and when you are working with their athletes.
  3. Your coaching qualifications and experience should be accurately represented, both in written and verbal form.
  4. Abide by the rules of your sport and respect your opponents and those in positions of authority.
  5. Adopt a professional attitude and maintain the highest standards of personal conduct. It should encompass your mannerism, dress and language.
  6. Exercise self-awareness and evaluate how your values and actions influence your coaching activities positively or negatively. 
  7. Uphold the values of clean, dope-free sport, by complying with all relevant anti-doping rules that are in line with the World Anti-Doping Code and cooperating with relevant anti-doping authorities should a need arise. Be a positive influence to those under your charge with respect to the values of clean sport.

Breach of Coach’s Code of Ethics

Coaches in the National Registry of Coaches pledged to abide by the Coach's Code of Ethics. Details of the disciplinary and appeal guidelines on any breach / violations are found in the NROC Handbook.

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