Symposium promotes ethical coaching practice

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University Sports Centre

More than 100 sports professionals from across the UK took part in a special event promoting the importance of ethics in coaching, at the University of Stirling. 

Launched in partnership with sportscotland and organised by MSc Sport Performance Coaching Programme Director, Stephen Macdonald, the ‘Ethical Coaching Practice Symposium’ was attended by representatives from more than 20 sports. 

Guest speaker Dr Andy Abraham, of Leeds Beckett University, a prominent expert and coach educator, opened the conference with a keynote speech focusing on ethics in practice, while attendees also took part in workshops on topics including inclusive coaching, stress and performance, and ethical use of data. 

L to R_sportscotland lead manager, Ewen Cameron, Executive Director of Sport at Stirling,Cathy Gallagher, Keynote speaker Andy Abraham, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, Jayne Donaldson, and organiser Stephen Macdonald L to R: Ewen Cameron, Lead Manager, sportscotland, Cathy Gallagher, Executive Director of Sport, Jayne Donaldson, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, event organiser Stephen Macdonald and Dr Andy Abraham, Leeds Beckett University.

Mr Macdonald said: “More than ever, those working within sport are focusing on the holistic development of athletes and the importance of ethics is central given the coach’s influential role. 

“The event encouraged sport coaches to proactively consider the ethical dimensions of their practice. Coaches are often making decisions on behalf of the people they are coaching – for example, they may decide an athlete can give more or train harder – that’s an ethical decision, the coach has made that decision for the athlete.  

“The impact of ethical coaching on performance and career longevity is a growing area of interest for researchers.” 

Event attendees included coaches, physiotherapists, youth development experts and personal trainers from organisations including Dundee United, Reading and Heart of Midlothian Football Clubs, Scottish Hockey, British Ice Skating, Triathlon Scotland and Scottish Rugby. 

Nikki Stewart, Partnership Manager at sportscotland, said: “It is so important to bring coaches from different sports and environments together to discuss topics like ethical coaching. It helps to challenge thinking, explore new ideas and grow confidence in the understanding of the topic and how it relates to their context.   

“This event has been a fantastic opportunity to work in partnership with the University of Stirling and we look forward to supporting the development of coaches at future events together.”