My Smart (Olympian) Friend’s Coaching Advice: Stop Punishing your Athletes!
My friend Wendy Bruce-Martin is funny, opinionated and accomplished.
And she is wicked smart and shares her brilliant perspective on mental toughness and sports in her blog, Get Psyched.
This is probably the best article I’ve ever read on why it is incomprehensibly foolish to punish athletes for poor performance.
- It isn’t effective. If punishment worked, after each rope climb the gymnast would return to the event and would now complete her assignment with ease.
- It is poor coaching. Technical corrections and developing physically and mentally strong athletes who are guided in a positive atmosphere is the coaches challenge. Bullying, humiliating and teaching through fear is not great coaching.
- It has unintended consequences. Among the unintended consequences of using punishment are wasting training time, teaching the athlete to hate conditioning, failing to understand why the athlete is struggling and reinforcing the wrong message.
But Wendy says this all much better so read her blog here:
“As I was working with an athlete last month, I was saddened to hear that coaches are still punishing their athletes for performance mistakes. I was sad because every athlete that I work with has a …
Source: Stop Punishing your Athletes!
Hi Anne, I heartily agree and don’t understand why coaches continue to employ these counterproductive methods. I’m a college student working on a research assignment and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction: I’ve heard that elite gymnasts often board with other families. Do you know of any biographies or articles that illustrate instances in which those living situations ended up being damaging for the athletes? (encouraging eating disorders, high conflict, anything like that) Your help would be enormously appreciated!
Hi Shira, I don’t know any stories off hand. I will keep my ears open though and if I come across anything, I’ll let you know. I am sure you’ve probably come across the book “Little Girls in Pretty Boxes” but if not, check that out for sure. Good luck with your research!
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