Olympism in Sports Coaching: A contribution to current ethical discussion


  • Philipp Waeffler, OLY


Sports coaching, Olympism, coaching philosophy, philosophical orientation, pedagogical footing, ethical coaching


In current ethical discussions in sports the roles of coaches, and in particular their actions, conduct and influence are coming more and more under scrutiny and are widely discussed with regards to ethical standpoints. A central point of debate nowadays are the coaches and their roles. What is desired, expected, permitted or tolerated in modern sports coaching? This article shall serve as contribution to current ethical discussions by describing what modern sports coaching requires in terms of ethical aspects to master today’s complex challenges faced by coaches. The purpose of the article is to critically look at integral parts of the often-cited coaching philosophy from an ethical perspective. The focus is on the important foundations of philosophical orientation and pedagogical footing coaches need. Through identifying fundamental pillars, the article shows how a contemporary interpretation of Olympism can serve as an intellectual and practical guideline. Further, how Olympism as a philosophical idea by Pierre de Coubertin and a state of mind can provide education and answers for coaches. How to master the ambiguity of effort and sporting excellence versus moderation and well-being, all without losing the ethical perspective, are shown. Current discussions need to address the coaches’ uncertainty in terms of acting with ethical responsibility, resulting in morally correct behavior. Hence, Olympism as an ethical- philosophical foundation, and with its pedagogical principles, can support on one hand its own critical reflection and personal development as a coach, and on the other hand, progress an entire system towards the necessary cultural change.