For The Record

Issue 11 2014


A Fresh Approach to Anti-Doping eLearning for Athletes

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has launched ALPHA, an Athlete Learning Program about Health & Anti-Doping.

ALPHA is a program that adopts a fresh approach to anti-doping education by addressing how an athlete’s attitudes shape his or her intentions, and ultimately determine doping or anti-doping behaviours.

As WADA’s Rob Koehler, Director, Education & Program Development explains, the program aims to substitute the traditional, directive approach to tackling doping with a more positive outlook.

“Instead of telling athletes ‘Don’t do this and don’t do that,’ which can come across as negative and daunting, ALPHA provides athletes with solutions,” says Koehler.

“We want athletes to understand that a number of options and actions are available to them. None involve doping and all take into consideration an athlete’s need to perform and succeed.”

In development for nearly two years, ALPHA brought together leading psychologists, behavioral scientists, education technologists, eLearning specialists, prevention specialists, as well as video testimonials from WADA’s Athlete Committee members. Athlete focus groups also contributed to the team approach, as athlete feedback was cited as central to ALPHA’s continual improvement and enhancement.

ALPHA, will be rolled out by Anti-Doping Organizations in English, French, with Spanish to follow, later this year. The program consists of eight sessions and takes two hours to complete. A score of 80% or higher is required for ALPHA certification, though athletes with insufficient scores are able to repeat the program.

ALPHA’s first six sessions address the World Anti-Doping Code requirement for athletes to be educated on the following: Doping Control, Whereabouts, Therapeutic Use Exemptions and Results Management processes, and medical and ethical reasons not to dope. Sessions seven and eight offer practical help on how to stay clean and how to resist the pressure to dope.

ALPHA includes video testimonials from elite athletes, particularly on the role of patience and failure in sporting life. The program also recognizes the relation of legitimacy to athlete acceptance, thereby taking that view that when an athlete believes a process is legitimate, they are more likely to accept it.

“ALPHA is a platform indicative of the way anti-doping has evolved over the years. It substitutes the black and white ‘you shouldn’t do this’ approach in favor of a method that asks athletes why they might choose certain options or paths. I, for one, am all for ALPHA and I hope to see anti-doping organizations the world over start to roll out the program for their own athletes”

Beckie Scott

WADA publishes first ever Athlete Reference Guide to the Code.
Now available on WADA's website.

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