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Running is Rarely the Answer

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Running is Rarely the Answer

You want players to practice hard and focus because it's the right thing to do and because, due to your well-planned practice, it's impossible not to do. You don't want them to practice hard for fear of running. You can't stop play in the middle of a game and tell them to "get on the line!" They should be able to gain focus on their own because you've taught them to get into the habit of doing so.

A simple reminder or "attitude adjustment" time (sprint up and back, take a lap, et cetera) is one thing when it's aimed at getting their attention and recommitting them to the task; however, "punitive" running on a regular basis loses its effectiveness and is counter-productive over the long haul. They may straighten up for the next drill, but in reality, they are actually losing focus down the line. Now when they practice, they might be thinking about not running as opposed to the real objective, which is to play the right way. This is similar to the "pre-game speech" that everyone looks for; it's only good for about the amount of time it takes to run down the hall from the locker room to the court. After that, you had better have a pretty good warm up, some focused players, and a solid game plan.

Running at the very end of practice can also cause players to try to “save” themselves by not practicing as hard as they can. This can create a negative effect and players may develop bad habits. Finally, if the last thing that players do at practice before they hit the locker room and go home is something that they do not enjoy (or even dislike!), that is what they will be talking about until the next practice comes around.



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