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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.
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
- Do warm ups affect performance?
- How to make your warm up sport specifc
- Weight training warm up video
- Have you thought of using gymnastics as part of your warm up?
by James Marshall
"James worked with the Exeter and Taunton based Southwest Talent Centre scholarship athletes. He is deeply knowledgeable about strength and conditioning and has excelled at working with young athletes. His sessions are challenging and fun and he has succeeded in blending a group of athletes from a diverse range of sports into a cohesive training group.
10 Apr 2019
Sporting success starts here
- Are you a sporting teenager who wants to get better?
- Do you play more than 1 sport?
- Do you want specific advice on how you can prepare for the matches ahead?
- Do you want to know how to balance school/ club sporting commitments?
- This day is for you.
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