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UK Athletics

coaching code of practice published

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22 June 2018

Following the creation of a working group to create a Coaching Code of Practice for athletics, UK Athletics has today published the code that will be introduced over the next 12 months.

The newly created Coaching Code of Practice (linked here) provides clear guidance on the standards of professional conduct to which UK Athletics expects coaches to adhere, and volunteer coaches to aspire. It has been developed to help provide clarity of what ‘good’ looks and feels like in terms of coaching behaviours.

The creation of the code, which was led by UKA’s Performance Oversight Committee (Dr Sarah Rowell, Anne Wafula Strike and David Bedford), ensures that UK Athletics’ organisational values; integrity, communication, accountability, respect and quality performance, are translated into action to help and protect coaches who not only perform such an integral role but also often have immense influence over athletes, who in turn may be young and vulnerable.

Valued input and guidance in the project was also provided by the key working group comprising David Bunyan – UKA’s High Performance Coach Development Manager, Iain Brunnschweiler and Andy Bradshaw from UK Coaching, Diccon Edwards – UK Sport Head of Coach Development and Aston Moore – UKA’s Senior National Performance Institute Coach.

Richard Bowker – Chair of UK Athletics said:

“The publication of the Coaching Code of Practice is a significant milestone for athletics as it is the first time we have fully captured a set of behaviours and values for our sport.

“Many codes of conduct in sport may list rules and guidelines but in also describing a set of behaviours, we are ensuring standards and working practices for coaches are maintained and improved by highlighting how it should look in everyday practice.

“Coaches fulfil a vital role and it is important that we clearly outline expectations but also help and support their development. It is essential we work towards further excellence in behaviours and culture, and this is a crucial part of this new era of sports governance.

“I’d like to thank Dr Sarah Rowell for her work on this alongside the Performance Oversight Committee and our external and independent experts in this area including the coaching groups who provided vital input.”

UK Sport Chair Dame Katherine Grainger said: “I am pleased to see the newly created Coaching Code of Practice from UK Athletics has now been published and it is something that UK Sport fully endorses.

“There are already a number of existing codes in place to protect athletes but it is important to continuously adapt to the unique nature of the sport and of course support coaches to undertake their roles to the highest standards.

“The Coaching Code of Practice, and those responsible for delivering it, will further ensure that athletes from grassroots level through to elite level will receive the correct level of care and coaching.”

UK Coaching’s Director of Coaching Emma Atkins, said:

“Great coaching supports millions of people across the UK each year to reach their own goals and motivations, whilst improving their mental and physical well-being.

“As the lead organisation for coaching excellence, we are pleased to have contributed our expertise to UK Athletics definitive Coaching Code of Pactice.  Codes such as these are vital for sports to continue to ensure that all people involved in coaching both now and in the future, continue to focus on creating healthy, positive environments for participants to thrive in; develop skills and fitness; and build lifelong attitudes to keeping active – whatever their performance level or motivation.”   

The code will be will be introduced simultaneously to all levels of the coaching community and its contents should be aspirational for all coaches, regardless of their status. From the 1st June 2019, it will be a requirement for coaches employed or contracted by the governing body to adhere to the Code of Practice.