Centre for Human Performance

CoachMADE: An intervention to optimise motivational climates and prevent willingness to dope in adolescent sport

The Coaches Motivating Athletes against Doping Education (CoachMADE) programme aims to prevent willingness to dope in adolescent sport.

CoachMADE: An intervention to optimise motivational climates and prevent willingness to dope in adolescent sport

the challenge

Coaches play a crucial role in shaping the psychological experiences and actions of athletes. Under the World Anti-Doping Code part of the role of a coach is to educate and counsel athletes regarding anti-doping policies and rules and use their influence on athlete values and behaviour to foster anti-doping attitudes. CoachMADE is the first published coach-centred intervention that promotes an anti-doping environment by focusing on how coaches communicate with their athletes in general, and about doping in particular.

The Approach

We delivered a cluster randomised controlled trial in Australia, United Kingdom, and Greece. This study was a parallel group, two-condition, superiority trial. Participants were 130 coaches and their 919 athletes. Coaches in the intervention group attended two workshops and received supplementary information to support them in adopting a motivationally supportive communication style when discussing doping-related issues with their athletes. Coaches in the control condition attended a standard anti-doping workshop, which provided up to date information on anti-doping issues yet excluded any motivation-related content. Assessments were taken at baseline, post-intervention (3 months), and at a 2-month follow up.

The impact

Compared to athletes in the control group, athletes in the intervention group reported greater reductions in willingness to take prohibited substances and psychological need frustration at post-intervention, and greater increases in anti-doping knowledge at follow-up. Coaches in the intervention group reported at post-intervention greater increases in efficacy to create an antidoping culture and in perceived effectiveness of need supporting behaviours to deal with doping-related situations, alongside greater decreases in doping attitudes and perceived effectiveness of need thwarting behaviours.

The findings of this project are important to global anti-doping organisations as they highlight the value of embedding principles of motivational theory in anti-doping education.


The anti-doping side of it has given me a lot more awareness. I knew some of the examples of what you can do to get done for doping, but I didn’t realise there was that many. That’s the side of things that it has educated me on, and then making sure the athletes are aware of all the areas when they go away with teams, so they are ahead of the game, rather than being put on the spot and under pressure and not being able to cope at the time. 


Outputs and recognition

Manuscripts describing the results from this intervention are currently under review and will be made available on this website in due course.

Contact Professor Sue Backhouse

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