Schedule time for dynamic warm up, skills training and play at every practice.
Here are the first 2 phases of warm up:
Gathering – when they arrive, have something for them to get started with. Otherwise, girls will chat and await instructions. Boys will see how far they can kick it into the woods.
- A team jog around the field with 30 second “stretch- breaks” at the corners when they’re allowed to chat.
- Indian chief run. Team jogs the periphery of the field with the person last in line sprinting to the front of the line as the rest shout encouragement (or whatever). Then, the next to last person and the next. They’re done when all players have moved from last to first.
- Small field keep away or possession play. Put out pinnies, define the space with cones, and let ’em choose sides. Play quick touches. Keep a live ball.
Dynamic Warm Up – an organized, focused, consistent team drill performed with perfect form. Do not rush. I like to run it in 2 partnered lines so I observe each player. I use this as a diagnostic. You want to see smooth, strong, coordinated movement. Where that’s missing, look for breaks in balance and form. This is where you need extra strength, balance, dynamic fitness training. (Fitness means more than just “run fast”!!)
The key to designing an effective warm-up is building on these basic foundations:
- Start with simple, low intensity movements and build to larger, high intensity movements. (walking, jogging….hopping, skipping…leaping, jumping)
- Include movements in all the directions needed for the game: forward, backward, sideways, angles, pivoting and rotation. Then, introduce change of direction with acceleration. (shuffle, turn and sprint; backpedal, turn and sprint)
- Warm up each joint through it’s full range of motion. (ankle, knee, hip, trunk, shoulder) Caution: be sure you know how joints are designed to move. Ankles and knees are hinges; hips, trunks and shoulders rotate within sockets.
- **I recommend: 10-14 paired movements (one going out/one coming back) that players perfect and do before every training session and every game. Here’s a sample dynamic warm up: **Emphasize bent knees, staying on the balls of feet:
- Jog forward
- Jog backward
- Slide side (facing right- moving left) NO clicking of heels
- Slide side (facing right – moving right)
- Slide forward, alternating right and left diagonal (“wizard of oz”)
- Drop step (backward “wizard of oz”)
- Knee up and out/open the gate (do as 3-count: step-step-knee up and out, results in alternating legs)
- Knee out and rotated in/close the gate
- Carioca left with emphasis high step across in front (1 – 2-3-4 and repeat)
- Carioca right (1 – 2-3-4)
- Step kick to opposite hand (do as 3 count as above) (keep body upright: foot lifted to touch suspended hand)
- Step and lean forward with arms wide, shaping a T (support leg has a bend at the knee, other leg is straight out behind, ankle flexed, toe down)
- High knees
- Butt kicks
- Sprint to quick, multi-step stop (option: slide 3 steps, turn and sprint)
- Sprint to quick, multi-step stop (option: backpedal 3 steps, turn and sprint)
This will prepare your players to use all their joints through their full range of motion for stronger, safe play. Don’t forget to re-warm up your subs!