Anti-Doping: Tips for Parents
We've come up with some top tips to help ensure your athlete starts clean and stays clean:
Educate yourself and your athlete about the principles of clean sport, the risks of doping, and the importance of fair competition and integrity.
Lead by Example:
Be a role model by promoting clean sport values, demonstrating sportsmanship, and emphasising the importance of playing by the rules.
Promote open and honest communication with your athlete about the risks and consequences of doping. Encourage them to ask questions, express concerns, and share any experiences or pressures they may encounter.
Emphasise Natural Abilities:
Help your athlete understand that their natural abilities, hard work, and dedication are key to success, rather than relying on shortcuts or performance-enhancing substances.
Nutrition and Healthy Habits:
Emphasize the importance of proper nutrition, hydration, rest, and recovery to optimise performance naturally. Encourage a balanced diet, including whole foods, to meet their nutritional needs.
Seek guidance from qualified sports nutritionists or healthcare professionals to ensure your child's nutritional needs are met through safe and legal means.
Create a supportive and positive environment where your athlete feels comfortable discussing any challenges or pressures they may face. Encourage them to surround themselves with like-minded peers and coaches who share the same commitment to clean sports values.
Stay updated on anti-doping policies, rule changes, and educational resources provided by relevant sports organisations. This will help you guide your child effectively and ensure they have accurate information.
By following these tips, parents can help sow a strong commitment to clean sport and anti-doping in their young athletes, instilling integrity, fair play, and ethical competition.
Anti-Doping Tips for Parents:
Dr Phil Hurst is a senior lecturer in Sport & Exercise Psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University. His main areas of research are doping in sports, the use of supplements, and the placebo effect. Phil competed for GB at international level as a middle-distance runner, primarily 1500m and 3k.
Athletes are 100% Accountable:
How You Can Help
Athletes (and parents) should start to understand the anti-doping rules from the National Schools Championships level onwards.
Ensure your athlete fully understands that, ultimately, they are 100% responsible for what goes into their body… ‘excuses’ will be irrelevant if they fail a test.
The 100% Me programme has been specifically designed to help athletes navigate the world of ‘clean sport’. Click HERE for more information.
Understand that all medications, prescribed or bought over the counter, may contain prohibited substances… even simple flu remedies! UKAD has a good page about this on its website HERE.
Get into the habit of checking that medications/prescriptions do not contain banned substances using the Global DRO search tool. Click HERE.
Ensure you (and your athlete) know what constitutes a doping violation.
Create the narrative that good performances come from hard work, good nutrition, and sleep rather than external factors like ‘super shoes’, protein powder, etc.
Avoid suggesting (and try to discourage) the use of ‘external performance enhancers’, e.g. the use of supplements.
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Take Home Point
As a parent, your job is to encourage clean sport and to promote integrity and fair play to your young athlete.
Educate yourself and your athlete about fair competition and the risks of doping. Be sure to be a positive role model, emphasising integrity and sportsmanship. Openly discuss with them doping cases in the media and the consequences the banned athlete faces.
Encourage them to focus on natural ability, hard work, dedication, and performance-enhancing lifestyle choices rather than shortcuts or substances. If your athlete insists on using supplements, always insist they use products certified by Informed Sport and seek professional advice if in any doubt about their safety.
Our content is supported by the following evidence-based research:
Blank, C., Leichtfried, V., Schaiter, R., Fürhapter, C., Müller, D. and Schobersberger, W., 2015. Doping in sports: Knowledge and attitudes among parents of a ustrian junior athletes. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 25(1), pp.116-124.