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NATA: "Conditioning shouldn't be used as punishment"

The National Athletic Trainers Association released a recommendation today from their annual convention in St. Louis asking coaches to stop using exercise as a form of punishment.

As coaches we have all been in a situation where a player misses a class or team function, or gets in trouble over the weekend, and some extra conditioning is used to remind him of the high standard that players within the program are held to. According to Dr. Douglas Casa, chief operating officer at the Korey Stringer Institute, those days are numbered.

"There usually is no medical staff around and punishments are not scientifically planned out, so it raises a lot of unique dangers. Is it realistic? In a sense I really don't care if it's realistic. We're moving in this direction. Some day it's going to be eliminated."

Dr. Chuck Stiggins, executive director of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association echos the same sentiment.

"Conditioning should be there to maximize durability of the athlete, but it should not be used for discipline. We have got to change our culture. It happens very slowly, but we have to get away from that punishment mentality. There are better ways to handle that."

"It's kind of like wearing seat belts. Most people wear their seat belts now, but its taken time. This is a culture change and is something that needs to be done." Stiggins explained.

The lengthy list of recommendations also includes a suggestion that freshman, and players coming off injuries, should have a unique tailored work out schedule, and coaches and athletic trainers should work together to come up with a workout plan for those individuals.

One way that they are looking at making these recommendations stick as legislation is to get the NCAA to ensure that all strength and conditioning coaches are nationally certified, which they say is something that they are currently working on.