Rule of Two
The Coaching Association of Canada’s Rule of Two states that there should always be two screened and NCCP-trained or certified coaches with an athlete in situations where the athlete is potentially vulnerable. One–on–one interactions between a coach and an athlete, without another individual present, must be avoided in all circumstances except medical emergencies. Basketball Nova Scotia’s Provincial Teams are following the Rule of Two and are working with member clubs to raise the standard across Nova Scotia.
Basketball Nova Scotia expects that all organizations will work toward the Gold Standard, outlined above. If NCCP-trained or certified coaches are not available, screened volunteers (such as managers, support personnel, chaperones, and Directors of the club or organization) should be available instead. If screened volunteers are not available, parents of other athletes should be asked to temporarily substitute. If another adult is not available, there should always be more than one athlete with the coach (this is the lowest standard and is not recommended).
Basketball Nova Scotia strongly recommends the following guidelines for organizations to ensure they are following the Rule of Two. In the guidelines below, a ‘Person in Authority’ is defined as an NCCP-trained or certified coach, a screened volunteer, or other adult.
- A Person in Authority may not be alone in a car with an athlete unless the Person in Authority is the athlete’s parent or guardian
- A Person in Authority may not share a room or be alone in a hotel room with an athlete unless the Person in Authority is the athlete’s parent or guardian
- Room or bed checks during overnight stays must be done by two Persons in Authority
- Eliminate one-to-one electronic messaging. Ensure that all communications are sent to the group and or include parents or guardians.
- For private athlete conversations via text message, include an adult who is part of your coaching staff or the parent or guardian of the athlete.
- Virtual communication applies the same rules as above. Eliminate one-to-one video calls and if the option is available, record the call for your records.
Locker Room / Changing Area / Meeting Room
- Interactions between a Person in Authority and an individual athlete should not occur in any room where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy such as the locker room, meeting room, washroom, or changing area. A second Person in Authority should be present for all necessary interactions in any such room.
- If Persons in Authority are not present in the locker room or changing area, or if they are not permitted to be present, they should still be available outside the locker room or changing area and be able to enter the room or area if required.
Training / Competition Environment
*Including before, during, and after practices and games:
- A Person in Authority should never be alone with an athlete prior to or following a game or practice, unless the Person in Authority is the athlete’s parent or guardian. If the athlete is the first athlete to arrive, the athlete’s parent should remain until another athlete or Person in Authority arrives. Similarly, if an athlete would potentially be alone with a Person in Authority following a game or practice, the Person in Authority should ask another Person in Authority (or a parent or guardian of another athlete) to stay until all the athletes have been picked up. If an adult is not available, then another athlete should be present in order to avoid the Person in Authority being alone with a single athlete.
- Persons in Authority giving instructions, demonstrating skills, or facilitating drills or lessons to an individual athlete should always be doing so within earshot and eyesight of another Person in Authority.
A Person in Authority who is interacting with athletes should be of the same gender identity as the athletes.
- For teams consisting of athletes of just one gender identity, a Person in Authority of the same gender identity should be available to participate or attend every interaction.
- For teams consisting of athletes of more than one gender identity (e.g., co-ed teams), a Person in Authority of each gender identity should be available to participate or attend every interaction.
Good practices to implement the Rule of Two
- Ensure a coach or Person in Authority is never alone and out of sight with an athlete or participant without another screened coach or screened adult (parent or volunteer) present.
- Ensure the training environment is open to observation when there are not the specified number of adults in the area.
- Ensure an athlete or participant rides in a coach’s vehicle with another adult present.
- Consider the gender in which the athlete or participant(s) identifies when selecting the screened coaches and volunteers present.
- Look to implement team group apps for electronic messaging such as TeamSnap or Instateam. Otherwise, group IMessages or WhatApp groups with the full or individual athletes & parents or guardians are the best form of communication.
Applying the Rule of Two in a Virutal Setting
- The Rule of Two should continue to apply to all minor athletes or participants in the virtual environment (additionally, for those athletes under age 16, a parent or guardian should be present during the session where possible).
- We recommend applying the Rule of Two to non-minor athletes, as well, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- For every session, the Rule of Two would require two adult coaches be present, or one coach and one adult (parent, guardian, volunteer, club administrator) – one-on-one sessions are prohibited.
- A clear statement of professional standards expected of the coach during calls should be communicated – (i.e., sessions are not social engagements, and should be focused on training/coaching).
- Parents/guardians should be fully informed beforehand about the activities undertaken during the sessions, as well as the process of the virtual session.
- Parents/guardians should be required to consent to virtual sessions prior to each session, if irregularly scheduled, or prior to the first session if there is a series of regularly scheduled sessions.
- Communication during each session should be in an open and observable environment (i.e., avoid bedrooms) in the athlete’s home (athlete’s parents’/guardians’ home), and the coach must initiate the session from an appropriate location (i.e., avoid bedrooms or “overly personal”/unprofessional settings).
- It is recommended to record sessions where that capacity exists.
- Prohibit one-on-one texting, emailing or online contact between coach and athlete – any texting, emailing or online contact should be limited to group text/email that includes at least 2 adults (2 coaches or 1 coach and 1 adult (parent, guardian, volunteer, club administrator), and limited to coaching (non-social) matters, and parents of minor athletes or participants should be provided the opportunity to receive these texts/emails.
- Social media contact by coach to athlete is prohibited (including the sharing of memes, non-training video, etc.).
- Encourage parents/guardians to debrief with U-16 athletes about virtual training on a weekly basis.
- In addition, care should also be taken to ensure that appropriate security settings have been set for virtual, videoconferencing arrangements, including password protected videoconference invitations.
This Policy was last reviewed and approved June 17, 2020.
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