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Should Line Drills Be Called "Suicides"?

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"My 8-year-old daughter's basketball coach uses the word 'suicides' for line drills. Does that seem right? I am hoping a more positive approach will be used for this drill."

PCA Response by Ray Lokar, PCA Trainer-Los Angeles
If it were ever appropriate to call running drills "suicides" it is no longer. Too many adolescents have taken their own lives, and your players may know someone who has. Use of that term should be eliminated immediately from every coach's vocabulary.

There are also other good reasons to not label conditioning with such a negative name. In youth sports, especially at the U-10 level, conditioning should be multi-purpose in nature and done with a ball as often as possible. Practice time is so limited that any time spent with the ball is invaluable and running for the sake of running, or even conditioning, is a less productive use of time.

At that age, fun is most important, so instead of drills, coaches should coach skill development as games or competitions. Instead of running as a punishment, players should learn that it's "fun to run," and coaches should include this in practice plans. How coaches present these activities, in both name and design, goes a long way toward placing the players in a proper mindset.

Coaches want players to practice hard and focus because it is the right thing to do and, due to a well-planned practice, is impossible NOT to do. Coaches shouldn't want them to practice hard for fear of running.

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