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Excelsior ADC Newsletter
March 13, 2019
Excelsior AD Club newsletter March 2019 We have had so much happen in the last month, and exciting things happening in the run up to Easter, it is best to keep them all in one place. So here you go. 6 members complete their Athletic Development Coaching Course Archie, Daisy, Flora, Jakin, Rebecca and Stephanie […]

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The ultimate guide to warm ups

Why do you Warm Up?

To prepare your body and mind for the activity to follow.

Warm ups

Active warm up

If you have a “routine” that you follow day in day out, it becomes just that…routine.  Your mind switches off, your body has adapted too well, and any benefits are lost.

If the coach leaves the warm ups to the players, then it had better be good players with the right leadership qualities who can get it done right. Otherwise you then have players who are not switched on when they need to be and wonder why they get off to a bad start: in practice, or in competition.

This week’s module of the Sports Training System is looking at different types of warm ups and how to incorporate them into both pre training and pre competition preparation.

What exercises should I include in Warm Ups?

The Shooing the Chickens  exercise is an example of what has become the “norm” without people questioning what it is doing. (Thanks to Laurence Kitchen for the term).  

Just about every team sport seems to do this in rotation with some “opening the gates” or “sumo squats” which are performed half heartedly whilst catching up on the week’s gossip.

Heel flicks and high knees are also included in every warm up by default: depsite the fact they encourage bad running mechanics. If you do include these, you are teaching kids to run badly!.

One of the sequences we use is the animal movements. Cricket Coach Mark Garaway  tried these out in St Vincent last week with Matthew Hoggard and Michael Vaughn.  Apparently even these 2 experienced players learned something new and enjoyed it.

As a coach or player you wouldn’t do the same skills or running session every day, so why do the same warm up? Have a heart for the players and break the routine up. Of course, don’t change it on match day.

How to implement change

I have given the Millfield Hockey and Netball girls an arsenal of exercises that they can do, then broken that down into 3 different types of court\ field warm ups. To help get this to actually happen:

  • I have explained why we are doing it to the coaches.
  • Videoed the exercises
  • Given written handouts
  • Rehearsed the exercises over several weeks, so they can execute them properly, effectively and confidently
  • Let the players mix and match to come up with what they think is right.
  • Had dress rehearsals and adjusted from the feedback.

This didn’t happen overnight, it has taken time, but it is an important part of the overall Athletic Development and player development, that the athlete knows what they are doing, why and can get on with it themselves.

We have banned shooing the chickens too!

Read more here on

by James Marshall


  1. Level1 says:

    Hi James,
    Really good day today on the level 1 course I learn’t a great deal. Looking forward to putting it into practice tomorrow (Day 2) and into the future.
    Kevin Rainford

  2. Level1 says:

    Hi James.

    Managed to find the page.
    I would find the dynamic warm up exercises beneficial for my clients especially in my bootcamps to get multiple muscles working and by making the warm ups more enjoyable.

    Allan Barnard

  3. James Marshall says:

    Thanks Kevin, and for your input too.

  4. James Marshall says:

    Remember Allan that the warm up we did today was for multi directional team sports: the warm up must relate to the activity to follow, bearing in mind the capabilities of the athletes.

  5. Level1 says:

    My opinion on warm ups has changed completely from the course. I will be changing what I do and ensuring that I can justify why I am doing what I do. Thank you.

    Gary Beasley

  6. Level1 says:

    Hi James,

    Really good article which highlights and exposes the old school way of doing things. I work with a lot of older coaches who insist on warming young athletes up by shooting chickens because that’s how it has been done for years. I can certainly see the benefits of breaking the norm and using these fun, innovative and sport specific stretches to warm up.


  7. Level1 says:

    Hi James,

    I always realize the importance of a warm-up, now i know how important it really is to be coach led with my group of players (Colts Rugby) & the content of it. I know a little more of what to keep & what to shoo away! Thank you.



  8. Anonymous says:

    I believe that the standard warm ups just don’t benefit you in a positive manner. These common warm ups were extremely boring and even draining as a player so I will be usuing this information to make sure not to follow suit.

  9. Level1 says:

    It is always good to see and learn different ideas, rather than just going with the norm, even though every sport does it at all levels!! Keen to try new things (Open mindset)


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  15. […] The Ultimate Guide to Warm Ups: Why the warm up is essential to physical and mental preparation, how to plan your individual warm up, common warm up errors and bad practices. […]

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  21. level1 says:

    Good little video, really looking forward to this weekends S&C course

  22. […] (For the younger readers, you might think “we know this” but who do you think has led the field in questioning previous practices? More on dynamic warm ups here) […]

  23. abbey says:

    Again great ideas. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to this weekends course.

  24. Shana says:

    Was very interesting to understand what should really be in a warm up and why we should make sure we use it to our advantage when teaching teams but also someone on a individual basis.

  25. Steve says:

    I will now be adding these and changing my warm ups regularly to give the participants the best start.

  26. level1 says:

    A very helpful video and article, which will encourage me to vary and to improve the effectiveness of my warm-ups.

  27. level1 says:

    Really useful article and having more understanding for worming up in different sport

  28. level1 says:

    Great ideas. Correct warm up is important before training.

  29. level1 says:

    Today we had the level 1 strength & conditioning course in westway and was the great course ,,so much to learn and lots of new knowledge about coaching and the main work up ,,very great atmosphere ,,good coaching and lots of learning and at the same time we had the great time ,lots of fun and the taking part of trading sessions such as ,,bodyweighy,skipping,rolling,flipping ,…..thanks James

  30. James Latham says:

    Great article, this dynamic warm up would be perfect for my teammates on the cricket field to get them ready for the fielding warm up, as fielding requires you to move in all directions at differing pace. The animal movements would be great for the bowlers to get warm and loose for such a powerful movement.

  31. Carla Baker says:

    Great article on the use of dynamic stretches. In Netball we do very similar warm up exercises to this including arabesques, spider men, sideward skips, glute bridges etc. We also use a lot of landing skills technique before a game such as one leg jumps, bounds, broad jumps, 90 degress one leg jumps etc. These warm up techniques can be used in netball to not only activate key muscles but also to prevent injury as netballers are prone to knee and ankle injuries.

  32. Luiz Silva says:

    Excellent warm up exercises! It’s so important to explore the three planes of motion on everything we do, regardless of being an athlete or not.

  33. Neil McGovern says:

    Lots of interesting ideas on different movements to use. We use a lot of animal movements in rugby but could develop landing techniques a lot more to develop strength and reduce injury risk. Does anyone progress their warm ups to using a ball or should the focus be on the movement?

  34. Fiona McGowan says:

    Very important concept of training functional movement and the transfer of forces through the myofascial slings, in order to protect the load on the joints. Similarly on return to sport following injury, retraining and conditioning the tissues to absorb load with basic landing techniques to more advanced skater hops and rolls for lower limb and medicine ball training, etc for upper limb.

  35. level1 says:

    Made for a good read! look forward to this weekend.

  36. level1 says:

    Interesting article using sport specific skills for warm up which is particularly important in a sport such as netball where the players are prone to ankle and knee injuries. The article highlights the necessity for dynamic warm ups to prepare for the game ahead. In netball these would include high kicks, Spider-Man, arabesques etc.

  37. level1 says:

    Really helpful advice to making warm-ups fun and sport-specific.
    I really like the idea of combining animal walks and gymnastics to activate and mobilise. The walks and rolling can be increasingly made more relevant by throwing in a ball and competition or making the activities closer to sport technical drills (body positions or movement patterns) i.e. bear walks can be made to rehearse good scrummage positions in Rugby.
    Regards Stephen C. L1 21 July 2018 Westway.

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