Most young athletes are aware of how to warm up before a practice or a workout. In fact, more often than not, they have coaches walking them through these warm-ups.
Warming up before a game, however, is typically more of an independent task. And, unfortunately, many young athletes are not quite sure how to warm up on their own. Some may skip warming up altogether, which isn’t good for their bodies and muscles. Others might attempt to warm up without any real idea of what a good pre-game warmup should consist of.
If you’re worried that your child or the children you coach aren’t warming up or aren’t doing it correctly, don’t worry. Here are some simple warmup tips to teach them.
Tip #1: No Static Stretches
First things first, before a game is not the time to do static stretching. While static stretches aren’t likely to be harmful, they aren’t likely to do athletes any favors either.
Dynamic exercises are much better for getting the muscles, the body, and the mind ready to engage in a game.
Tip #2: Use the Right Dynamic Moves
As mentioned above, dynamic moves are the way to go when it comes to preparing for a game.
However, it is important to utilize the right dynamic moves. Exercises that get the body and the muscles moving and warm quickly but safely are the way to go.
Some good exercises for preparing muscles to spring into action include:
· Jumping jacks
· Explosive squats
· Hip circles
· Iron Crosses
Tip #3: Eat the Right Foods
Finally, remember that all “warmups” are not physical in nature. Some game preparation, like getting enough rest, is more about preparing the body to perform at its peak through long-term good habits.
Thus, what athletes eat matters every day, but it’s especially important on the day of a game. Foods that promote focus, like fatty fish, are a good choice. Also aim for foods with lots of protein to offer energy. Carbs are okay too as long as they’re good carbs- not the refined type that leave athletes feeling tired and sluggish.
Plenty of water for good hydration and to avoid electrolyte loss is also wise on game day.
As you can see, warming up the right way isn’t all that hard. You just have to know what to do and then do it, and these tips are a great starting point!