Home » Forum » Using Exercise as punishment is wrong!

Using Exercise as punishment is wrong!

I recently approached my sons' tennis coach (varsity high school) if he would re-consider using "exercise as punishment." The coach makes the entire team run either laps or sprints if any of the team members swear or show poor sportsmanship or other infraction.  While I believe these misbehaviors should have consequences, the punishment not only doesn't fit the crime, it gives running a negative connotation.  I asked the coach "what's the connection between misbehavior and running?" and he said "None - but coaches have been using exercise as punishment for years, and that is just how it is!"  He also said the kids need conditioning anyway.  I feel that using running as punishment gives a mixed message.


Last year one boy on the team had very poor sportsmanship so the entire team had to run every day - the coach thinks that his peers will pressure him to misbehave, thus the team running.  I watched through the whole season, and that boy did not seem to mind at all that he had to run, in fact, he said it would prepare him for the hockey season.  His foul mouth continued throughout the season.  If I had been the coach (and I have been a coach in the past) I would had the boy research sportsmanship and give a 5 minute presentation to the team on a skill that helps one tame their tongue (such as deep breathing, counting to ten, pressing his finger to his lips, etc.)  I also would not have let him play until he could prove he could manage his foul mouth.  When I suggested this to the coach, he said "No kid is going to give a report to his teammate - it would end up a joke."  In the meantime, this boy kept swearing,and his teammates had to run everyday as punishment. 


There are other issues with this also - perhaps bordering on being abusive to kids who struggle with running (we have one boy on the team who is quite overweight and another on the team who has foot problems.) Your thoughts?