Helping your child to compete clean

Here are our top tips on helping your child to be a clean competitor who is strong enough to say no performance enhancing drugs or methods:

  • Take an active interest in your child’s sporting career

If your child knows that you’re interested and engaged in their sporting career they’re more likely to share their experiences with you.  If you’re someone who understands their sport, their training schedule, the pressure they are under and the desire to succeed, they’re more likely to come to you if they encounter problems or pressure they can’t handle.  Make sure they know you’re there to support them through the good and the bad times.

  • Get to know the coach and make sure it’s a clean coaching environment

Coaches are crucial in influencing your child’s attitudes to anti-doping and competing clean.  Make sure you know the coach and how they operate. 

Find out as much about the coach as you can, especially whether they’ve ever broken anti-doping rules as either a player or a coach.  Talk to the coach so that you get a sense of their approach to anti-doping and find out more if a coach is recommending supplements to your child.

Make sure your child feels able to talk to you about their relationship with their coach and all aspects of their training regime.

Do not hesitate to find a new coach if you feel your child’s coach is pushing them to use performance enhancing drugs or methods.

  • Understand your child’s motivation

Get to know why your child wants to be involved in their sport.  If they value their sporting career purely for the love of the sport rather than for the recognition or adulation it brings, they are less likely to cheat to get to the top.

  • Recognise periods of risk

There are certain times in an athlete’s career when they may be more at prone to the temptation of doping.

Risk periods include:

  • Moving to the next level of competition. Your child may go from being top of their age group or winning a major competition to the next performance level where they encounter other athletes who are just as good as or better than them.  This can knock their confidence and make them feel like they need an extra advantage.  This is a risk period – be there to support your child through it and reinforce the value of determination and effort.

  • Your child may be under pressure because they are focused on a significant performance or because they have to manage their sporting career as well as study, work, friends etc.  Help your child to recognise and manage stress so that this pressure doesn’t lead to poor decision making.

  • If your child is injured or is going through a period of poor form they may be more vulnerable to taking short cuts to achieve their goals.  Be there to support your child and reinforce the need to compete clean.

  • Understand the Anti-Doping rules

As a parent and advocate for your child, it’s important that you understand the anti-doping rules so that you can help your child comply with them. The rules can change, so make sure you keep up-to-date with any changes.  You can view a summary of NZ’s Sports Anti-Doping Rules here.

  • Reinforce clean values

You help to develop your child’s values and behaviour in all aspects of life, including sport.  Your attitude to anti-doping and clean sport will influence your child.  Talk to your child about the value of clean sport, hard work and determination and give them the tools to cope with challenging situations. 

You might like to check out our top tips for athletes on saying no to performance enhancing drugs and methods.