Code of Conduct for Officials, Coaches and Volunteers

Code of Conduct for Officials, Coaches and Volunteers

Blackrock Athletic Club is guided by and fully committed to Athletics Ireland – ‘Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children in Athletics’.  The document acts as a guide for all other rules and regulations in our club. It outlines best practices with regard to working with children to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all.

All coaches, officials and volunteers of the club must receive a copy of the Athletics Ireland Child Welfare Document – ‘Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children in Athletics’ and they register their intent to adhere to Athletics Ireland Policies regarding the protection and welfare of children in Athletics upon taking up a role in Blackrock Athletic Club.

All coaches, officials and volunteers at the Club should lead by example and:

  1. Ensure their Garda Vetting is completed before commencing coaching.
  2. Be up-to-date with knowledge and skill of sport and athletics for young people and be willing to undertake training courses and workshops relevant to coaching.
  3. The Club aspires to have all coaches trained to AAI Coach level 1 (or equivalent), all assistant coaches trained to AAI Assistant Coach level or equivalent and all volunteers trained to Athletic Leader level or equivalent.
  4. All active coaches, assistant coaches and parent volunteers must have up-to-date Garda vetting and a certificate of completion for Child Safeguarding Level 1.
  5. Club Children’s Officer must be Garda vetted and have a certification for Child Safeguarding Level 1 and 2
  6. The designated Liaison Person must be Garda vetted and attend Child Safeguarding Level 1, 2 and 3
  7. Confirm that they agree with the Club Coach Education and Training Policy.
  8. Consider the wellbeing and safety of participants before the development of performance.
  9. Display consistently high standards of behaviour.
  10. Follow the guidelines laid down by Athletics Ireland as adopted by the Club.
  11. Develop an appropriate working relationship with athletes based on mutual trust and respect.
  12. Be familiar with Club policies and procedures.
  13. Obtain a listing of registered athletes for their age category and ensure that only registered athletes attend the training sessions. Any queries to be emailed to
  14. Be aware of any medical requirements of the athletes in their care as indicated by parents.
  15. Use a group system for communicating with parents/guardians and coaches of athletes and do not communicate individually by social media, text or email with juvenile athletes.
  16. Do a roll call at training sessions, keep a headcount and confirm training attendance on the club management system.
  17. Be punctual and prepared for training sessions and communicate to parents and other coaches about training sessions on a timely basis.
  18. Ensure that the training plan is appropriate for the athlete’s age group and ability.
  19. Put the welfare of young athletes first, ensuring they leave with a sense of achievement and increased self-esteem.
  20. Be positive during training sessions and competitions and praise and encourage effort as well as results.
  21. Be familiar with the first aid kits, incident forms and be prepared to administer basic first aid or to call on a coach able to do so. Report incidents that arise to a Club Child Welfare Officer.
  22. Encourage fair play and treat participants equally.
  23. Involve parents where necessary and inform parents when problems arise. Encourage parents to get involved in club activities.
  24. When coaching training groups alone or indoors, be accompanied by a parent representative or volunteer.
  25. Keep a brief record of problem / action / outcomes, if behavioural problems arise and report to the Children’s Officer.
  26. Encourage athletes to accept responsibility for their own performance.
  27. Challenge bullying in any form.
  28. Respect other coaches, parents and other club officials.


Coaches, officials and volunteers should not:

  • Spend time with children away from others or find themselves alone with one child.
  • Let the second last child leave at collection if it means being left then with one child.
  • Be isolated with individual children on training runs.
  • Communicate with underage athletes individually via text or email or by social media or communicate directly with Gaisce volunteers. All communications must be via their parent numbers.
  • Have any unnecessary or inappropriate physical contact with athletes.
  • Use any form of physical punishment or force on a child.
  • Exert undue influence over participants to gain personal benefit or reward.
  • Undermine the efforts of an athlete’s personal coach and/or attempt to ‘poach’ an athlete within a squad environment.
  • Condone rule violations, rough play or the use of prohibited substances.
  • Use bad language, shout offensively or ridicule athletes.
  • Smoke while coaching.
  • Consume alcohol or non-prescription drugs immediately prior to or while dealing with underage athletes.
  • Administer any medication or medical aid unless trained to do so.
  • Engage in communications with underage athletes individually via personal social network sites.
  • Transport a juvenile athlete alone.
  • Take a juvenile athlete to the coach’s own home.
  • Bring a child alone to a bathroom or attend in a changing room alone with an underage athlete.
  • Engage in rough physical games, provocative games or allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any kind with an underage athlete.
  • Abuse their position of authority by engaging in any form of sexual relations with children, or vulnerable adults.
  • Undertake or use any form of therapy (hypnosis, etc.) in the training of children.