Most of the coaches in Canada are volunteers.
They are the moms and dads in your community who agree to take charge of the group of six-year-olds for a season of soccer, or hockey, or basketball.
They are the teachers who stay late after school to help students prepare for the inter-school track meet, or to help start an Ultimate Club.
Anytime someone agrees to supervise kids they are taking on a great responsibility. And nearly all of them take that responsibility very seriously.
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But there will always be one or two who don’t.
That’s where the Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) comes in.
A program designed by the Coaching Association of Canada, the RCM has three steps:
- The rule of two: A coach is never alone with a child and out of sight of other adults. If a female player has an injury, she should be attended to by two adults, one of whom should also be female.
- Coaches must have a background screening conducted by the local police department and two character references.
- Coaches should complete ethics training which prepares coaches to handle situations and includes training in abuse and harassment prevention.
We all have a responsibility to make sure that the kids are safe no matter what. As parents, you can play a role by making sure that the sports clubs and organizations your child is part of have mandatory background screening for all coaches. Ask your association to also make mandatory ethics training and National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) completion.
You can also make sure that coaches and kids are never alone and out of sight.
To learn more about how you can ensure that your kids have positive experiences in sport, visit Commit to Kids, a division of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, and Respect in Sport, which offers training for everyone to help create positive environments for children and youth.