Using running, or any physical activity, as a punishment is never appropriate in youth sports. Using running as punishment for children should be prohibited for the following reasons:
Negative associations with running: To use running as a punishment is a guaranteed way for a child to view it negatively, when it is a healthy activity that should be associated with fun. Promoting running and exercise as fun and beneficial should be the mission of all adults in youth sports, particularly since it plays an important role in many sports for conditioning purposes to help them perform at their best. Using running as punishment is counterproductive to that mission.
Health risks: Forcing an impressionable young child to run against their will can be physically dangerous. Medical conditions related to muscle fatigue, exhaustion or heat effects can be a potential risk when a child is forced to run beyond what is typically required in practice. When a child is running in a fun, stress-free environment it is more likely that the youngster will recognize his or her physical limits. When a child is forced to run as punishment they may push themselves past their endurance level out of fear of receiving additional punishment.
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