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.

In short:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!