Every practice session or game should begin with a warm-up session, whether you’re gearing up for lacrosse, softball, or tennis.These warm-up activities can vary between the team’s age range, sport season, and other factors, but here are tips to make sure that your starting exercises aren’t just a waste of time.
Research supports the many benefits of effective stretching. A dynamic warm-up will involve rhythmic motions that take players through the limits of their range of motion. Traditional stretches, such as toe touches that are held for 30 seconds have been shown to be less effective than fluid movements. Consider providing music to get your team in the zone and pumped up for the upcoming play.
Don’t Forget the Basics
The goal is to warm up the muscles and nervous system, so don’t launch straight into rigorous exercise. Some of the classics are a great way to warm up the team, including jumping-jacks, a moderate sprint, or lunges.
Tailor Your Warm-Up
Keep your players in mind when planning out your warm-up routine. Certain sports will need to target certain areas for extra flexibility or endurance. For instance, a softball team will need to be able to run effectively, while tennis players may need more emphasis on flexibility. To further explore this idea, you may need to consider whether to focus on form running or plyometrics. Form running focuses on techniques to aid endurance and speed in running, while plyometrics uses reflexes to increase power. Of course, most sports can benefit from a mix of both, but emphasizing one or the other may provide more specialized benefit.
An effective warm-up is important to helping your team perform to the best of their abilities and to improve over time. You may need to amp up the workout later on in the season. Reviewing performance issues can also be a big help in pinpointing areas that could improve with more thorough warm-up strategies.