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Coaches Code of Ethics

Sport_NZ_WhiteWith the New Zealand Rugby Union's partnership and the ongoing relationship with Sport New Zealand  we have, on behalf of all New Zealand Rugby Coaches, adopted the Coaches' Code of Ethics (see below). The Coaches' Code of Ethics provides expectations for conduct and behaviour, which apply to all people involved in coaching in New Zealand. It also outlines a philosophy to which we believe all coaches should aspire.

The document, which has been prepared in consultation with national sports organisations, will provide support for all organisations that oversee coaches. By understanding and defining appropriate behaviours for coaches you will be able to provide a positive, safe and harassment-free environment in sport.

When you register as a coach, by signing the Coaches' Registration Form, you are accepting this code of conduct. The code will be displayed on the back of the registration form. Any breach of the code by any rugby coach will be dealt with by the current judicial processes of your provincial union.

The Code:

  1. Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every individual athlete as a human being. Treat everyone equally regardless of sex, disability, ethnic origin or religion. Respect the talent, developmental stage and goals of each athlete in order to help each athlete reach their full potential.
  2. Maintain high standards of integrity. Operate within the rules of your sport and in the spirit of fair play, while encouraging your athletes to do the same. Advocate a sporting environment free of drugs and other performance enhancing substances within the guidelines of the New Zealand Sports Drug Agency and the World Anti-Doping Code. Do not disclose any confidential information relating to athletes without their written prior consent.
  3. Be a positive role model for your sport and athletes and act in a way that projects a positive image of coaching. All athletes are deserving of equal attention and opportunities. Ensure the athlete's time spent with you is a positive experience. Be fair, considerate and honest with athletes. Encourage and promote a healthy lifestyle - refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol around athletes.
  4. Professional responsibilities. Display high standards in your language, manner, punctuality, preparation and presentation. Display control, courtesy, respect, honesty, dignity and professionalism to all involved within the sphere of sport - this includes opponents, coaches, officials, administrators, the media, parents and spectators. Encourage your athletes to demonstrate the same qualities. Be professional and accept responsibility for your actions. You should not only refrain from initiating a sexual relationship with an athlete, but should also discourage any attempt by an athlete to initiate a sexual relationship with you, explaining the ethical basis of your refusal. Accurately represent personal coaching qualifications, experience, competence and affiliations. Refrain from criticism of other coaches and athletes.
  5. Make a commitment to providing a quality service to your athletes. Seek continual improvement through ongoing coach education, and other personal and professional development opportunities. Provide athletes with planned and structured training programmes appropriate to their needs and goals. Seek advice and assistance from professionals when additional expertise is required. Maintain appropriate records.
  6. Provide a safe environment for training and competition. Adopt appropriate risk management strategies to ensure that the training and/or competition environment is safe. Ensure equipment and facilities meet safety standards. Ensure equipment, rules, training and the environment are appropriate for the age, physical and emotional maturity, experience and ability of the athletes Show concern and caution toward sick and injured athletes. Allow further participation in training and competition only when appropriate. Encourage athletes to seek medical advice when required. Provide a modified training programme where appropriate. Maintain the same interest and support toward sick and injured athletes as you would to healthy athletes.
  7. Protect your athletes from any form of personal abuse. Refrain from any form of verbal, physical or emotional abuse towards your athletes. Refrain from any form of sexual or racial harassment, whether verbal or physical. Do not harass, abuse or discriminate against athletes on the basis of their sex, marital status, sexual orientation, religious or ethical beliefs, race, colour, ethnic origins, employment status, disability or distinguishing characteristics. Any physical contact with athletes should be appropriate to the situation and necessary for the athlete's skill development. Be alert to any forms of abuse directed towards athletes from other sources while in your care.

Coaches should:

  • Be treated with respect and openness
  • Have access to self-improvement opportunities
  • Be matched with a level of coaching appropriate to their ability