I love to watch professional athletes warm-up. You can learn a lot by watching them.
First, while they are usually having fun and joking around there is a sense of seriousness about it. They know that warming up will not only help keep them injury free it will do something even more important…
Youth sports athletes need to learn to warm-up too. A good warm-up will
- Prepare the body for competition
- Help prevent injury
- Provide team bonding
- Review instructions and game plans
- Work on skills
Warm-ups don’t have to be long drawn out affairs. Ten to fifteen minutes for younger athletes, thirty minutes maximum for high school.
Here are five key steps to a good warm-up…
- Establish a routine. This minimizes organization time and will help relax athletes before competition.
- Start off easy and move to more difficult and activities. If they are to be sprinting during the game, be sure to include some sprint activities.
- Use dynamic movements. Arm, leg swings. Full body twists and bends.
- A little goes a long way. The object is to get ready…not get a workout in.
- Include a group cheer or get together. Team bonding and friendships are the most important part of youth sports.
- If appropriate, have designated leaders. This gives the athletes ownership of the warm-up and develops leaders.
Make warm-ups a vital part of every practice and game. It will help your athletes and your team!