Pretoria - Coaches regularly need to educate themselves and their players about banned substances in order to deal with the problem of doping, a leading local match official has said.
Mpho Makhoba said the more coaches knew about banned substances, the easier it would be to advise players on the do's and don'ts.
Makhoba is the first female official to receive an international qualification under the joint certification programme run by the International Tennis Federation incorporating the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women's Tennis Association.
She is also only the fourth South African woman to achieve an international Chief of Umpires qualification.
"Most of our coaches think coaching is only about going on court and teaching players how to hit the ball, but they need to inform themselves in terms of what substances are banned," she said.
Makhoba was speaking following news that former world number 1 Maria Sharapova had failed a doping test.
"The banned substance that Maria Sharapova used only came on board last year. She is only using it because she is diabetic. Information and educating yourself about the stuff you need to take and what you don't will be the best way out," she said.
Makhoba appealed to young players not to be tempted to take performance-enhancing drugs as they would do more damage than good.
"Most of our kids think, 'If I use an enhanced substance I do better,' but they are actually not doing anything good to their bodies and their systems," she warned.