Saturday, October 11, 2008

Make Sure To Warm Your Players Up At The Beginning of Practice

In my last entry, I referenced the importance of stretching and warm up. This applies to young athletes you’re coaching in any sport.

While young children are not as prone to injury as us old folks, a good warm up not only reduces the chances for injury, but it helps put the players in the appropriate frame of mind for a safe and productive practice. This article from offers some guidelines on fitness activities for children --

Here is a routine to try in warming up your players prior to a practice –

Roll neck both directions
Stretch both arms across chest (holding the wrist)
Stretch both arms behind head (gently pushing down on elbow)
Touch toes
Heel-to-butt (hold the front of foot)
Knee to chest (hold shin to keep knee in position)
Three way stretch – touch right/left foot and ground

Then move to these exercises/agilities --

Push ups – 20
Sit ups – 25
Leg Lifts – 10

Each of the following can be done within a 10-yard stretch (remember, this is just warm-up!)
Easy Jog
High Knees
Butt kicks
Standing long jumps
Hops – right foot then left

These are all very easy stretches and exercises I’ve used with children from the ages of eight through 12 in a variety of athletic applications. All of the stretches go on the command, “Ready, begin.” The kids count to 10 then end with a clap. On the exercises, we establish even lines of three to five players to run through a 10-yard stretch. On the exercises, I use the command, “Ready, hit.”

After performing this routine a few times, you should be able to complete it in 15 to 20 minutes. At that point, your players should be properly warmed up and ready for a successful practice!

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