One Step at a Time: Building Coach Ethics from the Ground Up

in Journal of Coaching Education

Ethical concerns regarding fair play, coach athlete relationships, use of ergogenic aids, and the power dynamic inherent in coaching have been raised by those inside and outside the profession. Standards of coaching behavior and written coaching ethics are a part of most youth through elite level sport organizations. For example, the ethics code of the National Federation of High Schools and the U.S. Olympic Code of Ethics for Coaches are posted on the organization websites. Unfortunately, the “sticky” or gray situations that occur in real life often are not clearly covered in coaching ethical codes. The pressure to make decisions for reasons other than “right thing to do” is immense. These situations often do not have a straightforward answer, and the skills necessary to navigate the gray areas are often underdeveloped. This presentation discusses three approaches to teaching and reinforcing ethical thinking and problem-solving skills within different coaching education models. Best practices for teaching ethical guidelines both in and out of the coaching education classroom are discussed, and an emphasis is placed on the role of coaching education in teaching the skills critical for positive coach behavior.

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