2. Clearly express your expectation that players
will not use drugs. Some adults, especially those who
have used drugs themselves, find it difficult to talk to
youth about drugs. Unless adults clearly state an expectation
that youth should not use drugs, however, adolescents may
not understand what standard, if any, they are being held to.
3. Ensure that your players know the risks of drug
use, especially those that affect athletic performance
and their future. Getting high has both long- and
short-term consequences for an athlete -- consequences that
young people may not be aware of, but that you, the expert
on performance, understand. For example, short-term risks
of marijuana use include decreased stamina, weight gain,
and reduced muscle strength. Steroids can lead to heart
disease, infertility, and skin disease, and cause aggression in a
person's daily life. Laziness, lack of motivation, loss of control,
and poor decision making are additional risks associated
with drug use. Any of these can affect a player's long-term
goals, like winning a championship or getting a college scholarship.
4. Emphasize the benefits of participating in
sports, particularly benefits that young people care
Gaining the respect of peers.
Sharing new and exciting experiences with close friends.
Earning the respect and trust of parents and siblings.
Setting a good example for others (especially
Having a strong sense of self-worth and self-respect.
Increasing control over one's life and its direction.
Achieving personal growth and progress
toward one's goals.
The last three benefits are particularly important to
high school students.
Psychologists have long made the case that the
"carrot-and-stick" approach works far better than the "stick"
alone. When you link the attainment of benefits that young
people care most about to activities other than using drugs,
you help them develop closely held reasons for staying drug free.