As fall sessions begin at Synchronized swimming clubs across the country, Synchro Canada has one more tool in its arsenal to ensure everyone involved from young swimmers to coaches and volunteers enjoy a safe, respected and welcoming environment. Synchro Canada has taken the pledge and is now a proud Champion of the Responsible Coaching Movement. By making this pledge, we are committed to implementing supportive policies and processes that adhere to the principles of the Responsible Coaching Movement to ensure the safety and protection of our athletes and coaches, and to provide our coaches with the tools and training necessary to model ethical behaviour.

The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a multi-phase, system-wide movement, coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport that has the potential to affect all sport organizations and coaches.

The first Phase of the RCM focuses on three key areas:

Rule of Two
The Rule of Two serves to protect minor athletes in potentially vulnerable situations by ensuring that more than one adult is present.Vulnerable situations can include closed door meetings, travel, and training environments.

Background Screening
The background screening process involves using a number of different tools to ensure coaches meet the necessary security requirements to coach athletes. These tools include comprehensive job postings, criminal record checks, interviews, and reference checks.

Respect and Ethics Training
Increasing coaches’ ethical conduct and behaviour toward athletes requires that coaches be trained to understand what it means to act ethically.This training would include the Make Ethical Decisions module within the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), as well as training in abuse and harassment prevention, such as Respect in Sport, before and during their coaching career.

“While our clubs, coaches and members are working hard together to create a healthy, respectful environment for our athletes, taking the Responsible Coaching Movement pledge as an organization brings an even greater awareness to everyone involved,” said Jackie Buckingham, CEO, Synchro Canada. “From the youngest synchro swimmer in our clubs to our national team members, we believe this movement will bring transparency and openness to ensure that a safe, welcoming atmosphere is encompassed throughout all of Synchro Canada.

Over the next three years, with the support of the Coaching Association of Canada, Synchro Canada will be actively reviewing its current policies and procedures to ensure they align with the recommendations and guidelines of the RCM. Working closely with our clubs and provincial partners, we will identify realistic ways and means to entrench the Responsible Coaching Movement across our sport and enhance the safety of our athletes and ethical conduct of our coaches and other sport leaders.