Emotional and Physical Abuse 

You can play a key role in shaping sport environments in which all athletes feel safe, supported, and strengthened. By modeling and teaching appropriate behaviors and boundaries, you can reduce the possibility of abuse and misconduct in your sport settings.

On this page, you’ll learn about power differences and their impact on the coach/athlete dynamic, how trauma may affect how coaches can work best with youth athletes, solid principles for creating positive environments, and how to intervene in situations to stop bad behavior in its tracks. 


the Coach-Athlete Relationship

These relationships typically entail power differences, especially between adult coaches and youth athletes. You’ll read about how effective coaches use respect, support, positive discipline, and motivation to help athletes succeed.

Trauma-Sensitive Coaching

Children may encounter trauma and abuse in various areas of their lives—which can affect how they behave and react in sport settings. You’ll read about how to stay alert for unexplained emotional, behavioral, and physical changes so you can respond with sensitivity.

Ways to Create a Positive Sport Environment

This section introduces nine principles that will help you establish a positive sport environment, with related tips to help you put them in action.

Bystander Intervention

By saying or doing something in a potentially abusive situation, you can prevent acts of abuse from occurring and stop inappropriate behaviors from escalating or recurring.

Learn more

Visit the below pages for resources and links to help you recognize, prevent, and respond to abuse and misconduct in your organization.


Use these Toolkit handouts and activities to help your team or colleagues discuss principles together and put them in action in your sport setting.


A broad range of organizations and community resources are just a click away to help coaches, parents, and other athlete allies support individuals in need.