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Coaches Code of Conduct

The athlete/coach relationship is a privileged one.  Coaches play a critical role in the personal and athletic development of their athletes.  They must understand and respect the inherent power imbalance that exists in this relationship and be extremely careful not to abuse it.  Coaches must also recognize that they are conduits through which the values and goals of a sport organization are channeled.  Thus, how athletes regard their sport and USA Climbing is often dependent on the behavior of the coach(es).  The following code of conduct has been developed to aid coaches in achieving a level of behavior that will allow them to assist their athletes in becoming well-rounded, self-confident, and productive individuals. 

Coaches Obligations

Coaches shall:

1. Ensure the safety of their athletes, with whom they work, and the athletes around them.

2. Adhere to USA Climbing’s SafeSport Policies, and the safe sport rules, policies and procedures adopted by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, as such rules may be amended from time to time, protecting athletes from abuse and molestation, including acting in accordance with SafeSport Policies and operational obligations, and complete USA Climbing’s SafeSport training at least every two years.

3. Follow all rules and policies as outlined in the USA Climbing rule books.

4. Adhere to the anti-doping rules and procedures adopted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and World Anti-Doping Agency, as such rules may be amended from time to time and never advocate or condone the use of drugs or other banned performance-enhancing substances.

5. Treat all athletes, parents, coaches, volunteers, judges/officials, and USA Climbing associates fairly and with respect.

6. Not actively pursue or solicit athletes who are members of another team.

7. Treat everyone fairly within the context of their activity regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, religion, economic status, disability, or team affiliation.

8Direct comments or criticism at the performance rather than the athlete.

9. Consistently display high personal standards and project a favorable image of their sport, USA Climbing, and of coaching.

For example, coaches shall:

a) Refrain from public criticism of fellow coaches, athletes, parents, judges and USA Climbing;
b) Abstain  from  the  use  of  tobacco  while  in  the  presence  of  their  athletes  and discourage its use, and refrain from the consumption of alcohol or other behavior-altering substances while responsible for minors;
cDiscourage the use of alcohol in conjunction with events or victory celebrations; and
d) Refrain from the use of profane, insulting, harassing, or otherwise offensive language in the conduct of their duties.

10. Ensure that the activity being undertaken is suitable for the age, experience, ability, and fitness level of the athletes and educate athletes as to their responsibilities in contributing to a safe, fun environment.

11. Consider the athlete’s future health and well-being as foremost when making decisions regarding an injured athletes ability to continue climbing or training.

12. Regularly  seek  ways  of  increasing  professional  development,  maintaining  a  connection  to  the  climbing community, and keeping current with USA Climbing rules and policies.

13. Treat opponents, host facility personnel, judges/officials, parents, and USA Climbing associates with due respect, both in victory and defeat, and teach and encourage athletes to do the same.

14. In the case of minors, communicate and cooperate with the athletes parents or guardians, involving them in decisions pertaining to their childs development.

15. Be aware of the academic pressure placed on student-athletes and conduct practices and competitions in a manner so as to allow academic success.

16. Promptly disclose in writing to USA Climbing any and all of the following (including pending cases):

  • Sex Offenses – Regardless of the amount of time since offense (including sexual violence offenses and prostitution, pornography, and indecent exposure).
  • Sex offender registrant.
  • Felony Violence Offenses – Regardless of the amount of time since offense.
  • Felony offenses other than violence or sex – Regardless of the amount of time since offense.
  • Misdemeanor violence offenses (including force or threat of force) – Regardless of the amount of time since offense.
  • Misdemeanor drug & alcohol offenses (including paraphernalia offenses) within the past 5 years or multiple offenses regardless of the amount of time since offense.
  • Other misdemeanor offense involving harm to minors Regardless of the amount of time since offense (including contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to a minor, theft of team funds if handling monies).
  • Court orders involving any emotional, sexual, or physical abuse of another person, including but not limited, to domestic order of protection.
  • History with one or more other organizations (employment, volunteer, etc.) of complaints of emotional, sexual, or physical abuse of another person.
  • Resigned, been terminated, or been asked to resign from a position–paid or unpaid–due to complaint(s) of emotional, sexual, or physical abuse of another person.
  • Any offense involving cruelty to animals – Regardless of the amount of time since offense.


Failure to follow this Code of Conduct may result in disciplinary action, which may include the issuance of a warning, or temporary or permanent loss of coaching privileges.

Coaches Attestation

I have read and understand the above statements and agree to adhere to this USA Climbing Coaches Code of Conduct.  I consent to disclosure to any third party, including to the climbing gym or climbing program where I am employed or seeking to be employed, of information regarding the results of any background check, any allegations against me, and any decision by USA Climbing to provisionally or conclusively deny, suspend or condition my coaching certification, to the extent that disclosure of such information is related to USA Climbing’s efforts to promote athlete and other member safety and well-being.  I acknowledge and agree that my exclusive remedies for disputes arising out of my coaching certification are (a) a hearing conducted by a hearing panel convened by USA Climbing, and, if I have availed myself of that hearing and dispute the outcome, (b) arbitration conducted under the applicable rules of the American Arbitration Association.


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