"I still don't trust them" I muttered. and was immediately taken aback by the words out of my own mouth. what had they done to give me any evidence for that belief? What had I done that created an environment where I don't trust my own runners?
In the past, I've had a few bad experiences with the runners I've coached. They've cut routes short, I've found them walking or they only start to run when I'm in sight. They've missed practice without notifying me or left practice early without asking. Nothing huge, but I definitely got the sense they didn't want to participate fully.
When these things happened my reaction was to remove privileges, reduce their workout choices or autonomy, and enforce strict attendance rules with complex late policies involving counting tardies that sum up to unexcused absences, and ridiculous cutoffs for what would be considered an excused absence. None of these reactions encouraged my team to be their best, or even to participate more fully. There were no chance to prove themselves trustworthy, just a bunch of hoops to jump through in order to obtain a sports credit.
Now I have a new co-coach and she's a lot more willing to give things a try before assuming that the runners can't handle it or won't act responsibly. And even when I feel that distrust, there's generally no evidence that they didn't do what we asked them to do even if we weren't there to witness it. It reminded me of another teacher who has a policy of removing the excuses for gaming the system.
For example, in the past runners would say they needed to go inside to get a drink from the water fountain, but then they wouldn't come back out. We'd find them in the hallways hanging out until someone went inside to make them come back out so we could start practice. I tried telling them to bring water bottles, but they didn't. So I just told them you can't go inside, with the implication that if they wanted water they better come prepared. Now my co-coach has recruited the managers to bring a jug of water to the practice site each day. Now there is REALLY no reason to go inside "for a drink of water" AND runners are better hydrated for practice.
That's removing the excuses for bad behavior.