Why we should move on from exercise punishments.

So I’m sure we’ve all been there, someone in the class, possibly even you haven’t been listening or were talking to someone else or maybe you were late to practice and suddenly 50 pushups were thrown your way. And this is bad right? Because we want to do all we possibly can to avoid doing more exercise to improve our fitness for sport?

Hopefully you see where I’m going with this. Giving exercise as a punshiment is completely counter-intuitive. For young players it teaches them that exercise is bad. Perhaps this even has some bearing on the genearlly lower levels of fitness in society from the school days with exercise punishments in P.E teaching people that exercise is bad.

This makes exercise a hard sell because it has now psychologically become in that person’s mind a negative but necessary thing to do and it may well take a good bit of re-wiring to change that. Surely the ideal is to have someone who loves to train and would leap at the sound of “Drop and give me 10” rather than groan.

Operating in this way is dysfunctional. Physically it trains the body to be good at sprints, laps, pushups, situps and the like rather than the sport’s actual technique. If you trained in a dojo like the one I used to train in, pull ups and exercises directed towards pulling are difficult to do off the cusp so after several hundred punishment push-ups, your players might well start to develop muscle imbalances.

This is also the case in a practical sense during the session. There have been times when the whole session has been stopped for an impromptue fitness session. Fitness isn’t hard for athletes to train themselves. They need (and often pay) coaches for their technical knowledge and expertise to be passed on rather than to do an hour of fitness.

Practically from a player management point of view this also brings in a whole load of fatigue issues. If it’s a quick set of pressups and sit ups, suddenly the player is more fatigued so when you’re trying to teach him a technical throw, kick, submission or whatever, they aren’t concentrating as hard and when it comes to practicing, their limbs and core are more tired so not only are they going to find building that important muscle memory harder, they are going to be more at risk of injury when it comes to sparring. After training this can alter their recovery time and potentially expose them to more risks when they come to their next session as well as messing with their body fat and muscle percentages over a longer period of time.

Now what I’m not suggesting is that coaches should be all soft on their players. Martial arts are tough sports and competitors need to have a level of toughness about them mentally and physically and a punishment system needs to be in place to maintain order in the class and to discorage potentially dangerous things from happening.

One alternative I’ve heard of is essay writing which I thought was perfect as many people in sports end up there because they hate academics. For a younger group, time off out the way I think provides time for the individual to think about what they’ve done as well as removing a disruptive influence for a moment or two.

Did you ever have experineces like this which put you off a sport? Do you have any good ways of keeping order without dishing out pressups? Let us known in the comments below. Like our page on facebook to keep up to date with our articles and soon our new video content. As always thanks for reading.

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