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Coach's Legal Responsibilities

Coaches need to be aware of their legal responsibilities, especially with respect to the advice they give their athletes and the way they manage and supervise participation in sport. Coaches have a legal responsibility to their athletes and should:

  • give appropriate advice and guidance
  • not offer advice beyond their level of qualification

Heath and Safety

Coaches are responsible for the health and safety of the athletes in their charge. Coaches should have access to first aid facilities and have the means by which to contact emergency services. A coach could be liable if evidence can show that normal standards and practices have not been followed.

Protection from Abuse

Coaches also have a responsibility to protect children from all forms of abuse. There are four main kinds of abuse:

  • Neglect (providing inadequate food)
  • Emotional abuse (being threatened or taunted)
  • Sexual abuse (being shown pornographic material)
  • Physical abuse (hitting)

Coaches should be able to recognise indicators that may signify abuse and take appropriate action if concerned. All organisations (e.g. sports governing bodies, local authorities, clubs) should have a policy statement and guidelines regarding child abuse.

Insurance

Coaches should have appropriate insurance that covers both public liability and personal accidents. Many governing bodies include insurance as part of their affiliation fee.

Transportation

It is recommended that coaches do not use their personal vehicles for transporting athletes to venues. If coaches do use their own vehicles then they should ensure they are properly licensed and insured. With young athletes, coaches should seek the assistance of the parents/guardians.

Supplements

Coaches have an ethical and legal responsibility to:

  • educate their athletes about drug (supplement) use and abuse
  • provide general and appropriate nutritional advise

Associated References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • LEE, M. (2002) Coaching children in sport: Principles and practice. Routledge
  • CRISFIELD, P. et al. (1996) The successful coach: Guidelines for coaching practice. Coachwise 1st4sport
  • HART, J. E., & RITSON, R. J. (1993) Liability and Safety in Physical Education and Sport: A Practitioner's Guide to the Legal Aspects of Teaching and Coaching in Elementary and Secondary Schools

Page Reference

The reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Coach's Legal Responsibilities [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/legal.htm [Accessed

Associated Pages

The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page: