The end of “running-as-a-punishment” in sports? This is ridiculous on so many levels.

  • As a coach, I’ve actually planned on including some punishment running as part of a rugby practice before it has even started. Pretending to be displeased with the performance and effort level of your athletes can help them break through a plateau and push themselves to a place they didn’t realize they could go.
  • Group “punishment” can help a team become a more cohesive unit as it creates an “us-against-the-coach” situation. It helps a team build a group mentality weeks before ever facing a real opponent.
  • Knowing that punishment running is on the table creates artificial pressure during training. In games, there are built in consequences (it’s called the scoreboard) for lazy play and mental errors. You need to find ways to create that pressure in practice. My college rugby coach never used the word “mistake”. His preferred term was “conditioning opportunities”.
  • There’s a huge psychological advantage to be gained at game time knowing that the other team has not outworked you in practice, that the game will be so much easier than your preparation was, and that there’s an expectation of effort (with consequences).
  • And then there are the days when your practice plans simply can’t work in enough high work-rate activities to provide your players with the fitness time they need. You don’t want to make them run just for running’s sake, but if you can make it seem like they caused themselves to have to run, you once again raise the expectation level.

We’re getting soft.

HT Remy’s World