Seb Coe has called for coaches, managers and agents to be banned as well as athletes in the wake of the latest drugs scandal.
Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment I do worry that we will never be in a position where all athletes are clean. As quickly as we find ways to detect drugs, newer ones are on the market. As soon as one athlete is banned, the miscreant managers/coaches will find other athletes to corrupt.
It saddens me that some athletes feel they need to take drugs to “level the playing field”. Even harder to grasp is the coach who actively seeks to corrupt a young athlete to help them advance their career – the question is does the coach want to enhance the career of the athlete or make a name for themselves as a successful coach? Either way their advice is misguided and we must be sure to do everything we can to protect our club members from these negative and unjust influencers.
We may feel that this is “not our problem”, that this affects “professional clubs” or “”elite athletes/coaches” only.
BUT …it all has to start somewhere, and you don’t want that somewhere to be in your club with your promising athletes.
Make sure club members, coaches, parents and managers are all aware of your zero tolerance attitude towards drugs. Have a clear policy in place (many clubs use this to cover abuse of alcohol as well), encourage a “whistle blower” culture amongst your juniors (don’t be afraid to discuss drug issues with them) and take immediate and decisive action if any instances are unearthed.