What's the point of your Team's Warm up?
This is an excerpt of some random thoughts from my upcoming E-book.
Here is what a typical team warm up looks like:
- Skips, high knees, backpedal, carioca, side shuffle etc.
- Static stretching
- Team jacks/raw raw chants
- Break off into groups
What does this prepare your athlete for? What is the benefit of repeating these same drills over and over, year after year? Are the warm ups for practice different than the warm ups for the game, or are the same to save the athlete’s “mental energy”?
When does going through the motions prepare an athlete to make quick decisions while they operate at full speed?
There is about 500+ minutes spent warming up in a typical youth athletic season. This is approximately 8 hours of time spent on activities providing little to no benefit to the athlete. With such a short season and limited time for practice, don’t you think this time could be better spent? If every second counts, why waste our athletes’ time with drills that require no intent, no decision making, and very little effort? This is the opposite of how we want our athletes to play so why are preparing them for competition in this manner?
If asked, most coaches would say the point of a warm up is to work up a sweat, warm the muscles up, and get the body moving. By these definitions, you could have your athletes do burpees, bear crawls, and jumping jacks for 5-10 minutes and all of the above would be accomplished, but how will this prepare them for competition?
A warm up is basically a dress rehearsal for a practice or game. Dictionary.com defines a dress rehearsal as “a rehearsal of a play or other performance in costume and with scenery, properties, and lights arranged and operated as for a performance”. So to warm up for the final show, the performers go through exactly what they are going to do in a similar environment”. Wouldn’t it make sense for athletes to do the same? Shouldn’t the warm up include activities that closely resemble what will happen during competition?
The game or practice should not be the first time an athletes runs at full speed, has to read and react, or experiences contact (in contact sports). These actions (mostly modified) should be a part of a solid warm up in order to get the athlete in the zone and prime them for competition.
Josh Gray BS, CSCS, NASM CES, USATF 1
Owner of Gray's Academy