PCA Resource zone

Should Line Drills Be Called “Suicides”?

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.

Athletes are more likely to learn, grow, and enjoy themselves within a positive sport environment created by the coach. Part of doing so is being intentional about language used and how it could affect athletes.

Here are some good reasons not to label conditioning with such a negative name nor use it as punishment:

  • Being mindful of the lived experience of athletes and acknowledging that using the word “suicide” may resurface previous trauma
  • Using this language can create a negative association with physical tness
  • In limited practice time, conditioning should be multi-purpose in nature and done with a ball as often as possible
  • A coach’s words matter. How you present an activity, both in name and design, goes a long way toward placing players in a proper mindset
  • Players are more likely to practice hard and focus when they feel supported to do so and not when they fear having to run if they make a mistake
  • If the last thing players do before leaving practice is something that they dislike, the coach is developing a negative atmosphere. It is better to end practice on a positive note and have everyone looking forward to getting back to work at the next practice

This resources was developed with PCA Trainer Ray Lokar