Principles of Good Practice: Athletics

View this PGP as a PDF file.

Preamble: The following principles provide common ground for interaction between independent school professionals and their many constituents (parents, students, colleagues at other schools, and the public). The NAIS Principles of Good Practice for member schools define high standards and ethical behavior in key areas of school operations to guide schools in becoming the best education communities they can be, to embed the expectation of professionalism, and to further our sector’s core values of transparency, excellence, and inclusivity. Accordingly, membership in NAIS is contingent upon agreement to abide by the spirit of the PGPs.

Overview: Athletics can play an important role in the lives of children. The school’s athletic program should be an essential part of the education of students, fostering the development of character, life skills, sportsmanship, and teamwork.

Principles of Good Practice:

School Athletics

  1. The school’s physical health program embodies the mission, philosophy, and objectives of the school.
  2. The school ensures that physical education teachers and coaches have appropriate training and knowledge of the school’s mission, philosophy, and objectives.
  3. The school promotes equity in all aspects of its athletic programs, including equal access to athletics, and fair and just treatment within both the curricular and extracurricular program.
  4. The school’s athletic program is an integral part of the school’s curriculum.
  5. The school is committed to the safety and physical and emotional health of participants in the athletic program. The school demonstrates this commitment by ensuring that appropriate safety precautions are in place for all physical education activities. Further, the school has appropriate response safeguards in place in the event that a student is injured.
  6. The school’s athletic program values the dignity and worth of the individual in a context of common purpose and collective achievement.
  7. The school educates parents about the philosophy, policies, risks, and appropriate expectations of the athletic program.

School Team Athletics

  1. The school stands firmly in opposition to performance-enhancing drugs.
  2. The school and its athletic programs and teams do not tolerate any form of hazing.
  3. The school ensures that students, parents, alumni, and others understand the expectations of sportsmanship, civility, and self-control at athletic practices and contests, much as those same characteristics are required within the more traditional academic environment.
  4. The school works directly and candidly with other schools to prevent abuses in the following areas: recruitment, eligibility, transfer of student athletes, financial aid, and admission.


  1. Coaching is teaching: Coaches are, foremost, teachers. In this spirit, coaches have a strong collegial relationship with other educators and contribute to the school’s understanding of the whole child.
  2. Coaches have an understanding of the developmental needs of the children with whom they work.
  3. Coaches design and implement activities that improve the knowledge and skills of all participants.
  4. Coaches are aware of the physical abilities of their athletes and do their best to keep the athletes safe while encouraging students to reach new levels of achievement.
  5. Coaches maintain the appropriate skills to teach their sport(s) and provide appropriate first aid to an injured athlete.
  6. Coaches mentoring athletic teams and events are role models for the behavior expected of all spectators and participants at any athletic event.

Download a PDF of the complete set of NAIS Principles of Good Practice.