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Safety and Welfare

Five Important Messages About Anti-Doping in Five Minutes

Anti-doping expert Laurie Patterson shares five actions that coaches can take to promote clean sport and enhance their own practice, as well as their participants’ experience

Laurie is a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and in addition to working at the university she advises governing bodies of sport, UKAD and international sports organisations to develop their athlete and coach education.

As a coach, you are an important influence in your participants’ lives, including their doping/clean sport behaviours. It is your professional responsibility to support your participants to understand the risks involved in doping and reach their potential without turning to the use of banned substances or methods. 

In this short video, Laurie explains why it is crucial that coaches learn about anti-doping.

Here are five actions that every coach can take, with links to further resources in the series that will help you expand your knowledge of anti-doping and ensure it is current:

Number 1: Know the rules

A great first step for every coach is to be aware of the 11 anti-doping rule violations and any specific anti-doping rules or processes in their sport. 

As a member of an athlete’s support team, you also need to understand how they affect you. 

 

Number 2: Role modelling

Athletes observe, copy and model their coaches; remember you are an inspiration for many of the people you coach. Being aware of the language we use, conversations we have, behaviours we demonstrate and the actions we take are essential. Anti-doping is no different to other aspects of your coaching role, where you develop the whole person; where you set standards for your athletes (e.g., turning up to training on time, grace in defeat, appropriate behaviours and making good, informed choices) and role model these yourself. 

 

Number 3: Think about how you communicate

This is especially important at a time of goal setting, discussing loss of form, return from injury and transitions. Make sure that you are clear and concise, with nothing left to ‘interpretation’.  Ask the athlete to share back to you their understanding to avoid any misunderstanding. 

For example, if you unassumingly say that a participant might need to gain size, it is important to discuss how they can achieve this and agree an accepted approach. 

In addition, show that you care! Use inclusive language (‘we’); acknowledge your athletes’ feelings and perspectives; provide meaningful and appropriate explanations for requests/activities [1].

Next Steps

Getting Your Message Across

Dive In

Further Reading

Coach Communication Styles

Read Now

Next Steps

10 Steps to Better Communication

Dive In

 

Number 4: Have conversations about what your athletes consume

Ensure you (and your athletes) are familiar with the idea of ‘strict liability’. You could encourage participants to adopt a ‘food first approach’, consult and advise the use of nutritional experts and, only when absolutely necessary, discuss the use of supplements and check that products are batch tested. 

You could also have conversations around medications, practise using GlobalDro to check medications are OK to use in or out of competition, and then help your athletes and their support network (parents, wider support team, teachers and GP) to make sure they are confident in doing this too.

This idea leads us perfectly to the last point, which is to…

Number 5: Take a collective approach

Involve others in clean sport efforts, especially parents. It is not your sole responsibility to promote clean sport, so draw on the influence of those around your athletes to increase the chances that your athletes receive consistent messaging and support. Ensure that everyone is aware of the conversations and discussions you are having with your athletes and encourage your athletes’ ‘support network’ to equip themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to promote clean sport.

How to Have Constructive Conversations on Anti-Doping

Read it Now

[1] These strategies are taken from a multi-national programme called CoachMADE. Visit this page for further information.

Related Resources

  • Building Successful Coach-Athlete Relationships

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  • Risk Factors Associated with Nutritional Supplements

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  • Developing Independent Participants

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