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Feasibility randomised controlled trial examining the effects of the Anti-Doping Values in Coach Education (ADVICE) mobile application on doping knowledge and attitudes towards doping among grassroots coaches

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posted on 22.09.2020, 09:10 by Adam Nicholls, Lucas Fairs, Mar Plata-Andres, Richard Bailey, Ed CopeEd Cope, Daniel Madigan, Katrin Koenen, Iva Gilbo, Nikolaos Theodorou, Jean-Francois Laurent, Gaeten Garcia, Beniot Chanal
Objectives Sports coaches are influential in whether athletes dope, but receive very little anti-doping education, particularly within entry level coaching qualifications. We tested the feasibility of an anti-doping intervention, delivered via a mobile application, which was designed to increase coaches’ knowledge of doping and to reduce favourable doping attitudes.
Methods A two-arm randomised controlled trial, with grassroots coaches who coach young amateur athletes aged between 14 and 18 years of age, was conducted. The Anti-Doping Values in Coach Education (ADVICE) mobile application included modules on fair play, substances, nutritional supplements, rules, and leadership. The primary outcome was the change in doping knowledge, 6 weeks after receiving the mobile application. The secondary outcome was changes in doping attitudes.
Results Grassroots coaches (n=200; aged between 18- and 71-years-old, with between 1- and 42-years coaching experience) from 29 different countries completed baseline assessments, and 85 completed follow-up assessments, and were included in mixed analysis of variance analyses. The intervention increased coaches’ knowledge about doping and also reduced favourable doping attitudes in the experimental arm.
Conclusion The ADVICE mobile application is a feasible method for delivering and increasing grassroots coaches’ knowledge of banned substances and the potential side effects of doping. Mobile application-based resources could facilitate a much wider dissemination of anti-doping education.
What are the main findings?
• Anti-Doping Values in Coach Education (ADVICE) is a professional learning intervention for grassroots coaches that is delivered as a mobile application.
• Doping knowledge about different banned substances and the health side effects can be increased among grassroots coaches.
• Favourable attitudes towards doping can be reduced among grassroots coaches.
• Mobile applications represent a cost-effective method for providing anti-doping education, which can be disseminated much wider than traditional group-based presentations.


European Commission's Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency [Unit A.6, Erasmus +: Sport, Youth and EU Aid Volunteers]. Project title: Anti-Doping Values in Coach Education (ADVICE). Project reference number: 579605-EPP-1 2016-2-UK-SPO-SCP.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine






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This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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Dr Ed Cope . Deposit date: 21 September 2020

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