DES MOINES — The practice of coaches using extra running to punish players for bad behavior and poor performance is getting new scrutiny in Iowa following an investigation into a Des Moines coach who made a student run sprints and laps as punishment.

The Des Moines Register reports that the investigation looked at a Des Moines high school football coach accused of violating school corporal punishment policies by making a sophomore player run. The player was being punished for making derogatory comments about the school’s varsity squad.

Iowa Department of Education attorney Thomas Mayes says running or extra conditioning could be considered corporal punishment under state law.

But some, like Dowling Catholic High School activities director Tom Wilson, say that if all conditioning discipline is banned, “youth sports are in trouble.”

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I coached for 35 years. It is the way that it is approached. I approached it thusly:

"John, your attitude right now is (hurting the team, or slowing down practice for the other team members, or setting a bad example for the rest of the team).
I (am really upset with you right now and need some time away; don't want the rest of the team to see the way that kind of effort).
But I don't want to kick you out of practice. Here are a set of drills you can do on your own. Do these drills and give me your best effort. When you get overly fatigued then slow down, but remember, that is also the time that gives the best indication of how hard you are willing to try. When I think your effort warrants inclusion back into the squad, we will call you.

Puts the responsibility for the limits of the discipline on the athlete, but if the effort isn't there it can be extended. Had a very "chippy" player who only gave half effort for three days, then realized it was going to last forever at that level. He withdrew from the team.

Usually works pretty well.


More liberal "hog wash!" I agree with "ScottDioux"...If you don't like it don't play! Discipline is a very necessary part of any program that trains kids. Discipline is not the dirty word that the liberal system claims it is!


Sports are voluntary. If you do not want to run, don't play.

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