A question of ethics: right or wrong?
A question of ethics: right or wrong?

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A question of ethics: right or wrong?

2 Adhering to the code

Sport and fitness professionals are required to work within the ethical codes of conduct set by the relevant organisations to ensure good practice standards. For example, REPs developed this as one of the first things to help unify their profession and demonstrate the credibility of the organisation. The next activity encourages you to become familiar with codes of conduct for a selected activity and to consider how they may be used.

Activity 2 Ethical conduct within your activity

Allow about 30 minutes

This activity is designed to provide you with the opportunity to research the code of conduct for an activity of your choice and compare it with examples from sports coach UK and REPs. Follow the steps below to guide you through this task:

  1. Visit the website of the governing body or organisation for your chosen activity and search for the code of conduct. Note down the key principles of good practice reflected in the code of conduct.
  2. Consider the role of the code of conduct within coaching/instructing practice. For example, what impact does this have on practice? What would happen if there were no codes of conduct?
  3. Now read through the code of conduct for sports coach UK and REPs using the links below. Compare and contrast the key themes featured in both, as well as comparing these to the code of conduct (if different) from your chosen activity.


  1. Noting down the key themes within the code of conduct will provide a useful checklist for good practice.
  2. The module team felt that codes of conduct were vital to standardise good practice and provide clear guidelines on what constitutes good or poor practice. However it is also important for the codes of conduct to be effective that they are embedded within qualification and training assessments.
  3. The sports coach UK Code of Conduct (2009) identifies four key principles of good coaching practice (rights, relationships, responsibilities (personal standards) and responsibilities (professional standards)).These four principles also feature in the REPs code of conduct although REPs add a fifth principle: ‘Safe Working Practice’. In contrast, in the sports coach UK Code of Conduct, guidance regarding safe working practices is included within Responsibilities (professional standards). It will be interesting to compare this difference with the code of conduct from your selected activity.

There are many different roles within the sport and fitness sector. Some may coach children in sport, some may take group fitness classes for a range of levels, others may work with individuals with disabilities, and for some their role will involve working across a wide range of different populations in a range of contexts. Different coach/instructor contexts may work towards specific codes of conduct; however, the principles of ethical and professional behaviour do possess some consistent factors, as Activity 2 illustrates.


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