chapter  3
15 Pages

Coaching ethics

The notion that sport builds character has been a popular claim for decades, and rests on the taken-for-granted assumption that there is some sort of internal connection between the practice of sport and the development of moral qualities (Carr 1998). The belief has often led to a culture of non-teaching or coaching in relation to moral values, as it is based on the perception that a coach’s task is simply to organize sporting activities for children and athletes who learn ethical behaviours from simply participating in them. Despite the popularity of the notion of sport being a character builder, it has not been the subject of widespread critical examination. Indeed, it has not garnered anything approaching consensus, let alone necessary operational definitions. This is particularly so in relation to what is meant by the term ‘character’, and how the context and/or the coach is meant to develop it (Sheilds & Bredemeier 1995). This lack of clarity has led to inadequate conceptualization of the professional responsibilities associated with the coaching role in terms of coaches’ own moral development and that of athletes (Carr 1998).