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Coaches’ awareness of doping practices and knowledge about anti-doping control systems in elite sport
journal contributionposted on 21.12.2017, 00:00 by T Engelberg, Stephen Moston, C Blank
Coaches may have a significant role in an athlete’s decision to use, or not to use, performance enhancing substances. Research suggests that many coaches do not have the confidence or the knowledge to discuss anti-doping issues with their athletes. This study aimed to assess coaches’ awareness of doping practices, coaches’ knowledge of anti-doping control systems (random testing, out of competition testing, the biological passport and the athlete whereabouts system) and coaches’ involvement with anti-doping education for their athletes. Individual interviews were conducted with 19 elite or professional level coaches representing the sports of basketball, cricket, hockey, soccer, rowing, ski cross, taekwondo, swimming and triathlon. The findings suggest that although many coaches personally know doping athletes, few believe that athletes will ever be tested. Knowledge of anti-doping control systems, specifically the biological passport and the whereabouts system was very poor. Coaches rarely discuss doping themes with their athletes or other coaches. Taken together these findings paint a worrying picture of the state of coaches’ knowledge of doping and their commitment to anti-doping education and awareness. While anti-doping education must become a standard part of the coaching education process, this should be backed with strict compliance legislation that obliges coaches to take part in continuous education and provide proof that they provide preventive measures for their athletes. Additionally, a professional development plan to ensure that knowledge remains accurate and current may be required.