Code of Conduct: Hate it or Love it, You Got to Have It

Whether you want to admit it or not, your youth sports club needs a Code of Conduct.

While we might want to think coaches will always do what’s in the best interest of the club and its players, athletes will be respectful, and parents will be well-behaved, that’s not always the case.

To try to combat these unwanted behaviors, teams need to establish a Code of Conduct. This should include what is expected of coaches, players and parents. While there is still no guarantee every person will follow the Code of Conduct at all times, it at least puts parameters in place for the team to fall back on if disciplinary actions need to be taken. Without documented behavioral expectations, teams could struggle to later remove a coach, player or parent from a game — or even a roster.

A thorough Code of Conduct should include specific sections for each group, detailing what behaviors and attitudes are acceptable. Your team’s Code of Conduct should be distributed to all coaches, players and parents prior to the start of the season. All individuals should sign the form to ensure they have read it and are aware of what is expected of them. This is letting all individuals know in advance of the season what actions will not be tolerated.

When creating your Code of Conduct, make sure to include aspects that follow your team’s mission and values, and encompass how you want individuals to behave when they are representing your club. Error on the side of including more than you think you need to state, and don’t assume individuals will “just know” what behaviors are acceptable. If it’s not in writing you could have a more difficult time taking action later.

Need help getting started? Use the content below for ideas on what your organization might want to include in its Code of Conduct for coaches, players and parents.

There are no guarantees that a Code of Conduct will be followed, but without documented behavioral expectations, teams could struggle to later remove a coach, player or parent from a game — or even a roster. [Click to Tweet!]

CoachesCoach Code of Conduct

  • Coaches should always remember that the game should be fun for kids and try to create an environment that promotes their enjoyment of the sport.
  • Coaches should always be positive and never use negative language or gestures when correcting players’ mistakes.
  • Coaches should not put pressure on players to win or react negatively to a loss.
  • Coaches should commit themselves to teaching athletes the game, its rules, and improving their players’ skills.
  • Coaches should ensure players’ safety is a priority and follow the advice of trained medical personnel when determining if a player is healthy enough to play.
  • Coaches should be reasonable with the amount of practices and team activities kids are expected to participate in, remembering school and family should take priority.
  • Coaches should remember they are role models and always conduct themselves as such.
  • Coaches should always conduct themselves in a manner that supports the club’s mission and values.
  • Coaches should provide equal attention to all players and not show favoritism to the more talented athletes.
  • Coaches are expected to always follow the rules of the game, and teach their players to do the same.
  • Coaches should always show respect to all players, opponents and officials.
  • Coaches should ensure all physical contact with a youth athlete is appropriate and professional.

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  • All players are expected to follow and play by the rules.
  • Athletes should control their temper at all times. This includes acting out or disagreeing with officials, opponents, coaches and teammates.
  • Players should show good sportsmanship and be respectful towards opponents and teammates.
  • Athletes should listen to their coaches and accept their decisions.
  • Players should play to the best of their abilities.
  • Athletes should be on-time and prepared to play at all practices and games.
  • Athletes should have a good attitude while playing and respect the game.

ParentsParent Code of Conduct

  • Parents should always be positive towards their own child, as well as their child’s teammates and opponents. Negative comments should never be made.
  • Parents should always remember they are role models and conduct themselves as such during all team events, including games and practices.
  • Parents should encourage their child to have fun while playing the sport and not force them to participate.
  • Parents should focus on their child’s efforts rather than winning and losing.
  • Parents should encourage their child to always play by the rules.
  • Parents should always support the coach’s decisions and not question him or her during a game, practice and in front of a team member.
  • Parents should respect the officials and their decisions.
  • Parents should show respect to the coaching staff, team officials and all league members.


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