Hillingdon Triathletes wish to introduce a simple and understandable policy around safeguarding athletes and coaches in predominantly a water-based training environment, predominantly at the main pool training facility. This ensures a safe-for-all well understood way of interacting between coaches and athletes, and athletes and coaches. The general principles also apply to any coached sessions where Level 1, 2, Diploma or 3 coaches are employed, or any volunteer at any run, PT or S&C and bike training. Furthermore, this extends to assistants, and members of the club who may be assisting or aiding a qualified and suitably personally or club insured coach
Any mention of pool side, pool deck or lake side is to be interpreted and interchangeable with track side, road side, gym environs or any location where coaching may be delivered in any discipline other than swim. Any mention of he or her refers equally to she or him. Policy is applicable no matter the situation, male to male, female to female, male to female and across all age groups from child to adult and all ethnicities and gender assignations. It also applies to those related by marriage or blood. The policy is for the mutual protection of all and will be applied sensitively and in the athlete’s best interests at all times.
The policy will avoid interpretations and misunderstandings around some coaching behaviours which in in certain circumstances might be regarded as permissible and appropriate, but which in a coaching environment around athletes, including young adults, children and vulnerable persons, the club has decided, after consultation with committee, coaches and Club Welfare officer, are not necessary to the delivery of coaching.
Where contact with an athlete cannot be avoided, in the event of an emergency, or accident or where assistance is required for example with a para athlete to assist them in and out of the water then this policy does not apply as circumstances will dictate acceptable and appropriate contact and lead must be taken from senior coach on deck OR the venue management OR the helpers or assistants attending that person OR a qualified first aider.
Photography or filming of any athlete during a coached swim session, whether closed or open, is not allowed under any circumstances unless the club is specifically running a closed video analysis session AND has the permission of the venue management, AND the permission of the athletes participating. Then the films once completed shall be deleted. If an athlete wishes a film to be preserved, then they are responsible for this and will do so on their own media storage.
Films will not be stored in any physical or cloud-based location owned by the club longer than absolutely required and will be deleted as soon as practicably possible post session. Neither shall they be distributed through any club media. The athlete may choose to do what they want with their copy of the film if it has been provided to them. Generally, phones with photographic or video capabilities [smart phones or specific film or photographic apparatus] are not allowed on deck, whether for the purposes of showing athletes films related to training or general telephony contact as their usage may be open to interpretation by third parties. This does not prohibit the keeping of phones in bag or clothing.
During a swim session held under the auspices of Hillingdon Triathletes there should be no physical contact between a coach and any athlete. Physical contact is defined as any deliberate contact that can be avoided and might result in the placing of hands or body onto an athlete’s body or in close proximity to it. We do not include simple widely understood public actions like ‘high 5s’ or the shaking of hands as a contravention of this policy and we are referring to physical contact as it relates especially to the coaching of athlete’s movements or body position in the water. Essentially this policy refers to the interactions between an identifiable coach carrying out the duties for which they’ve volunteered or are attending, and athletes in swim clothing around and in the pool during the duration of the session and in the times taken for changing pre and post session.
Furthermore, with very few exceptions, it is the club’s desire that all coaching on behalf of the club is delivered from pool side, and NOT in the water. By definition this means where coaches join the athletes in a pool, this redefines their role to ‘athlete’ and therefore the club expects that the coach participates as an athlete. This does not preclude occasional conversation or comment but the coach whilst in ‘athlete’ capacity must not perform coaching in a systematic way. This does not stop individual coaches with appropriate qualifications and insurance delivering individual coaching within their remit at any venue used by the club OUTSIDE and SEPARATE to a club session. So, 1-1 coaching in a lane used or being used for club swimming is NOT acceptable for instance. Any 1-1 coaching outside of a club session but in the same venue should be understood by both parties to be a private arrangement and the responsibility of that coach and athlete. However, any coach so participating in such a session should not be wearing kit or apparel that identifies them as a coach of Hillingdon Triathletes.
Hillingdon Triathlon Club would encourage support of this policy by athletes wherever possible to avoid possible misinterpretation by third parties. Whilst we seek not to stifle natural social behaviours and we acknowledge that many coaches and athletes are also friends and partners we would ask that during a coached session, athletes are aware of the responsibility placed upon our coaches by this policy and realise that overt displays of affection ‘during’ a coached session [as defined above at 6. Contact] toward a coach especially one that is recognised as one by their behaviour or uniform might place them in a difficult position in relation to this policy. We welcome appropriate social behaviour between all club members including coaches, officials and athletes at all other times in a personal capacity away from the pool or lake side or coaching activity but would ask that for the few hours a week where coaching is taking place, especially in a water based environment, physical contact with volunteers working on behalf of the club during a coached session of any kind is kept to a minimum for our volunteer coaches and your benefit wherever possible.
The club and committee and coaches realise that from time to time certain directed coached activities may involve a degree of athlete to athlete contact, such as group swimming, mass start practices, truck and trailer drills, relay tags or other drills where athletes are paired up for certain skills or activities under the direction of a coach. From time to time athlete to athlete contact is unavoidable - accidental contact, or for example in activities with a predominantly social bias, such as an organised end of season club fun sessions which may involve teams competing or obstacle related activities where assistance is a natural occurrence. This is outside of this policy and may be subject to clarification by the lane or head coach or event organiser as such a situation arises. It is not necessary to impose any policy or behaviour rules on athletes and members of the club participating in training, social or racing activities other than those demanded by society, general club rules and those standards expected and demonstrated by individuals on a day to day basis.
Should there be any questions relating to this policy please approach a member of the committee for clarification or our safeguarding officer Carolyn Hawkins. Should there be any occasions during a coached session or general club activity where you as an athlete or coach feel uncomfortable about another individual’s interaction then we encourage you to speak to the coach supervising, the lane coach, head coach or Carolyn Hawkins or other appropriate adult who will hear your concern confidentially, with empathy and address it in the appropriate manner. We hope that you regard this policy as a safeguard to ensure that all your sessions are conducted with care and equality and to ensure a happy safe environment for all