By: Sarah Frey, MS, CMT & Robert Neff, Ph.D., CMT

Lately, it seems that doping allegations have dominated sports news as some of today’s most revered athletes make headlines and disappoint millions of fans. In one swift moment our sport idols turn from hero to villain, quickly over-shadowing all of their accomplishments, natural talent, and honest effort put forth to achieve their success. Without a doubt news like this forces every sport fan to ask one question: Why?

Professional athletes who have succumbed to the pressures of their high profile positions in sport list reasons for doping which include the belief that doping is the only way to compete, win, or maintain their competitive advantage. Additional justifications given by athletes for doping, specifically for steroid use include the desire to stimulate muscle growth, build strength, assist with recovery, and for aging athletes, keep them at or above the competitive level of younger athletes.

What Exactly is Doping?
There are five types of doping that remain prevalent in today’s professional sports, and the usage greatly varies depending on the demands of the sport. Stimulants are used to increase focus and endurance. Narcotics are primarily used to facilitate the recovery process. Diuretics are used by athletes aiming to control or lose weight. Steroids are used by athletes looking to increase their strength. The fifth and final form of doping, and possibly one of the most difficult to detect due to the similarities between the natural and drug versions, is the use of blood enhancers, or EPO, which helps increase an athlete’s oxygen capacity by boosting their red blood cell count.

Unfortunately, the Texas Rangers’ Nelson Cruz and the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, who were among several baseball stars accused of receiving steroid injections from a facility in Miami, are no longer household names purely for their baseball talent. And of course we can’t forget to mention Lance Armstrong, who recently confirmed his use of EPO throughout each of the seven Tour de France’s he competed in. Besides losing their career or being stripped of prestigious victories or titles, the list of risks associated with doping is extensive and serious. Athletes can experience mood swings, paranoia, sleep problems, heart problems, or high blood pressure. Steroid use also increases the risk of developing an injury, experiencing joint and muscle pain, damaging the liver, testicular shrinkage, addiction, and depression or suicide.

The BEST Way to Enhance Performance
Fortunately, there is one form of performance enhancement available for athletes that is completely natural, safe, and effective – mental training. Through strengthening the mind and applying mental skills learned from a Mental Trainer®, athletes can develop and maintain the competitive edge they’re looking for to reach their highest potential within their sport. The mind is more powerful than most give it credit for, and is certainly more powerful than doping; especially considering that at the end of the day, remaining in control of our thoughts and emotions while performing is the ultimate indicator of our success.


About Mental Training, Inc.
Mental Training, Inc. was founded in 2006 by Robert Neff, Ph.D. with the goal of helping good athletes become great. MTI and its 25 Certified Mental Trainers® offer 1-on-1 mental training with amateur, professional, and Olympic athletes. Services also include programs designed for teams, associations, and school districts. Extending beyond sports, Mental Training, Inc. also works with executives, managers and salespeople, helping them control their thoughts and emotions while equipping them with the mental tools to perform their best when it matters most.

Mental Training, Inc.

Dallas, Texas