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Coach's Legal Responsibilities

Coaches need to be aware of their legal responsibilities, especially for the advice they give their athletes and the way they manage and supervise participation in sports. Coaches have a legal duty to their athletes and should:

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

Health and Safety

Coaches are responsible for the athletes' health and safety in their charge. Coaches should have access to first aid facilities and contact emergency services. A coach could be liable if evidence can show that usual 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 recognise indicators that may signify abuse and take appropriate action. All organisations (e.g. sports governing bodies, local authorities, clubs) should have a policy statement and guidelines regarding child abuse.


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


It is recommended that coaches not use their vehicles to transport athletes to venues. If coaches do use their cars, they should ensure they are correctly licensed and insured. With young athletes, coaches should seek parents'/guardians' assistance.


Coaches have an ethical and legal responsibility to:

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

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Coach's Legal Responsibilities [WWW] Available from: [Accessed