Proper Warm-up & Stretching – Finely Tuned
When talking about the development of an elite athlete, I imagine the manufacturing process of a finely tuned race car that is built for speed and performance. Without all of the necessary adjustments and calibrations it will not reach its fullest potential; every measure must be made and every step taken to ensure the automobile perform at its best.
As your dedicated pit crew; we coaches, your parents and teachers are meant to ensure everything is in place for you to learn and develop so that you may succeed. You are the driver of your success, you must execute the turns and drive the race to victory. It is up to you to take the appropriate pit stops for guidance, correction, discipline, training and instruction you receive and turn it into actionable results.
Every athlete who undergoes the fine tuning process must begin mentally, emotionally and physically prepared. Physical preparation begins with a solid warm up and stretch routine before strenuous physical activity. A proper warm-up will prepare you for peak performance and reduce the chances of injury. The objective is to increase the muscle and core temperature, increase heart rate and blood flow; distributing to the body oxygen and vitamins needed to compete.
Proper stretching serves a similar role, and supports increases in range of motion when done properly. Each sport is different, and requires different motions and activities to be successful; therefore the range of motion needed to be successful also varies.
The reciprocal may take affect if proper warm-up and stretching does not occur; increase chance of injury due to decreased range of motion or not being able to operate at peak performance.
Additionally, a good warm-up will include specific movements that lead to improved skill development for your sport; this can be accomplished through dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretches unlike static stretches require action from your muscles, and that they actively engage to reach increased levels of range of motion. Concluding dynamic stretches it is advisable to perform a sport specific action/motion to improve in the area being exercised or trained. The warm-up is not meant to drain your energy or fatigue, rather give your body and mind a jump start for the subsequent tasks and race.
Sample Drills for the Quarterback
(Warm-up before physical activity)
- Jump rope 1 minute on both feet
- Jump rope 30 seconds on left leg
- Jump rope 30 seconds on right leg
- Jog forward 20 yards while performing a forward windmill motion with arms
- Jog backwards 20 yards while performing a backward windmill motion with arms
- Shuffle to the left 20 yards, swinging arms above the head, and near belt repeatedly
- Shuffle to the right 20 yards, swinging arms above the head, and near belt repeatedly
- Skipping with arm swings 20 yards
- Reverse skipping with arm swings 20 yards
- High knees 10 yards, sprint 10 yards
- Butt kicks 10 yards, sprint 10 yards
Dynamic Stretches to use before activity:
- Walking Knee Hug 10 yards; followed by a 10 yard sprint
- Skipping Knee Hug 10 yards; followed by a 10 yard sprint
- Lunge walk 10 yards, followed by a 10 yard sprint
- Reverse lunge walk 10 yards, back pedal 10 yards
- Side lunge 10 yards; flip hips side lunge opposite direction 10 yards
- Inchworm 10 yards; followed by a 10 yard sprint
- Forward lunge with elbow to instep; followed by a 10 yard sprint
- Quad stretch, walk 10 yards grabbing foot pulling it to rear end; followed by a 10 yard sprint