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Coaches’ Code of Conduct

The following article was shared to us by Mitch Cole from Texas A&M Men’s Basketball and are excerpts from Joe Ehrmann’s book, Inside Out Coaching.

In contrast to coaches who are merely “transactional” (those who use the players merely to achieve the coach’s goals), Ehrmann hopes to equip coaches to be “transformational coaches,” those who strengthen, uplift, and influence their student-athletes through the lessons of sport.


One of the characteristics of a transformational coach is one who communicates with CLARITY of vision, purpose and expectation. In Chapter 6 of Inside Out Coaching, Ehrmann describes CLARITY as an important “VIRTUE” in communication. He believes in having clear statements of expectation for the Coaches, Players and Parents who participate in Sports programs. Below are a few points he makes about Clarity in Communication:

  • “Clear communication requires explicit expectations for how we will treat each other, stand by each other, care for each other.”
  • “Clarity enhances the relationship between the technical and the virtuous.”
  • “Clarity defines a program so that we all know where we stand and what our roles are.”
  • Coaches are some of, if not THE most, influential adults in the lives of young people, but most have no clear rules, guidelines, (or Clarity) on how they should treat the people with whom they are entrusted.

*With this in mind, Ehrmann created a Code of Conduct for Coaches, Student athletes, and Parents which provides clear expectations of those who are in authority and positions of influence as well as those who are participating in their programs. Below is the Coaches’ Code of Conduct which you might find interesting!

Coaches’ Code of Conduct

  • The purpose of our coaching is to help boys become men of empathy and integrity who will lead, be responsible, and change the world for good.
  • Be mindful never to shame a player, but to correct him in an uplifting way. Affirmation!
  • Believe in every player. Remember, “In youth is where miracles are made.”
  • Protect our players. Be big enough to build up, not tear down. Our kids are getting attacked from many places that we don’t often see and of which we are not aware. 
  • Remember our job is to put our players in a position where they can develop to their fullest potential through proper teaching and nurturing. 
  • Each player is part of our family, deserves every chance to succeed, and deserves the utmost respect. 
  • Coaches can disagree in meetings but never in front of our players or anyone else outside our family. Disagreements are saved for private meetings. 
  • Our players are student-athletes and we are teacher-coaches. We hold ourselves accountable as teachers of young men and the lessons they need in order to navigate masculinity and life. 
  • If you do not know, say so and get appropriate information. Don’t bluff our kids! They know the difference. 
  • Remember that parents are our partners. We strive to work with each family in helping their sons to succeed. “Every boy is a son to his mother and father.”
  • Love your players and the other coaches! 
  • No profanity! 
  • Know the difference between shaming and coaching. No screaming, shaming, swearing, or sarcasm. 
  • Don’t be afraid to apologize! We all make mistakes. When mistakes are made publicly, apologize publicly; when mistakes are made personally, apologize personally. 
  • We are nurturing successful people, not just successful athletes. 
  • Treat all opposing coaches and their teams with the honor true competitors deserve. 
  • Respect all referees, officials, and timekeepers. They are imperfect and trying their best just as we are. 
  • Regardless of our wins and losses, we will be successful if we carry out the above items.
  • Because I am a role model who has the power, position, and platform to make a positive difference in the lives of my players, I commit to this code of conduct. When failing to live up to our standards I will allow for accountability and take responsibility for my actions.


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about rick torbett

Rick Torbett has taught thousands of coaches to win more games through his innovative approach to the game. He has created powerful training for coaches at any level so they can coach their best and win more games.

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