Parents are often rushing to get their kids to sports activities as they juggle the family's schedules. This makes everyone feel hurried, and often warm-up time before a game is sacrificed.
When warm-ups are brief, muscles are not ready for the activities they are forced into once adrenaline takes over. Traditional static stretches prelude the action, but this can do more harm than good before a game or physical activity. Imagine a muscle getting lengthened and relaxed right before heading into a ballistic activity. That is quite a shock to muscles.
Peter Twist, an 11-year veteran NHL strength and conditioning coach, says that "the goal of a warm-up is to warm the muscles and link the mind and muscles so when your brain commands the muscles to move skillfully and quickly, they comply." This means a more active warm-up is required prior to play.
Below is a basic dynamic warm-up drill. This type of warm-up prepares the body for the demands of the activity to follow. The warm-up feels a lot like a workout and prepares the body mentally and physically for the demands of playing a game.
Basic dynamic warm-up
Warm-ups should start with easy movements that are slow, progressively moving into faster movements that incorporate angled and zigzag patterns and graduating into side-to-side movements. Do all of the movements on the next page at least one width of a soccer field.
Before you start
Think of safety. When decelerating to change direction, bend at the knees and get low! Avoid stop/starts with children under 12 because their joints do not favour this, as their tendons aren't fully formed.
Abdominals (the core) are extremely important! Always keep form -- standing tall with abs flexed -- and do not fold forward from the hip. Keep your chest back and eyes forward. Children find it fun if you tell them to brace themselves as if someone is going to wallop them in the stomach (this ensures they are holding the core tight).
Page 1 of 2 -- Get some tips on walking lunges and butt kicks on page 2
Cool walk Strike down on the heel and roll up to the toes with arms at sides, moving opposite to lead leg.
High knees Run with knees coming up to waist height. You can place your hands in front of you with palms down and elbows at 90 degrees and hold them steady, trying to drive the knees into the palms.
Note: Static stretching is still important at the end of the game, when the muscles are warm and tired and ready for lengthening and relaxing -- it keeps the joints from getting stressed.
As parents we can assist the coaches by arriving at least 10 minutes prior to game time so that there is time for a dynamic warm-up. The above warm-up is great before any activity or team sport. It's fun for children and adults, so parents, get in there and help your children prevent injuries and enhance their performance! Enjoy.
For more assistance contact www.123.blastoff.com. For info on coaching certification in sport training visit www.sportconditioning,ca (mention BLAST).