What Coaches Should Know About Drug Use

Coaches—You Can Influence Youth

The game will be affected

Sports were designed to be a fun and competitive way to gain exercise. They were not designed to include drug use. Communicate the serious effect of drugs on the game by asking your players to guess how their foul shots, field goals, or home runs would be affected by drugs. To put it simply, they won’t happen. Scientific studies show that drugs impair coordination and abilities. How does this translate on the athletic field?

• A basketball player using drugs is more likely to miss a game-winning free throw.

• A football receiver using marijuana is less likely to outrun a defender. Speed, lung capacity, muscle strength, and stamina all can drop with marijuana use.

• A skier using drugs likewise dramatically increases his or her chances of suffering a career-ending injury.

If a player’s performance is weak because of drug use, the player will have to live knowing that he or she has disappointed the team, the coach, and others — all for a few minutes of a false high.

Take a Stand

• When talking to players, remember they relate more to messages about the immediate effects of drug use (such as poorer athletic performance) than to its long-term health threats.

• Openly acknowledge and support the understanding that drug use is considered an important issue at your school.

• Know the school policies about drug use and be ready to enforce the consequences of breaking those rules, even with your star players.

• Share positive stories with your students about athletes who have taken a stand against drug use, including doping.

• Recognize your influence with young people. Live a drug-free life.