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Dec 07

Tip of the Month – November

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Coach Monika says…

 

 

Warm-up and Cool-down: Common Mistakes

Recently, I observed a group of athletes in their Warm-up and Cool-down activities. I could not believe that coaches were standing around, talking, sipping from their water bottle and slurping Starbucks coffee. It is time to provide some guidelines in order to prevent potential injuries due to lack of effort or improper technique of exercises.

Guidelines:

  • Practice starts the minute athletes come through the door and they should demonstrate motivation and positive attitude to learn and improve daily performance
  • During Warm-up and Cool-down exercises, attention needs to be paid to the body, rather that chitchatting and catching up with the latest news.
  • Exercises have to be performed with full range of motion (ROM) rather than superficial, offhand, random, perfunctory, sketchy, desultory, brief, careless, fast, or half-baked efforts.

Athletes:

  • Body position and alignment have to be correct for whatever exercise – otherwise, injuries may occur
  • Athletes can risk back injury if they arch the back while doing planks or push-ups; knee injuries are possible if athletes bend too deeply in a lunge or squat
  • Traditional ‘Jumping jacks’ are outdated – replace them with forward- backward lunge jumps
  • Sideways stretches need to be executed to both sides with equal effort
  • Forward-downward stretches for toe touches should be performed to the L foot, to the center on the floor, and the R foot
  • Hopping and jumping exercises are performed wearing tennis shoes NOT Flip flops (!) to prevent foot, ankle injuries and shin splints
  • The Warm-up consists of general exercise components (all muscles – while raising the HR) and specific ones (those muscles needed in the upcoming session)
  • The Cool-down has a psychological component with the role of lowering the HR
  • Muscles used in the prior session are addressed, and depending on need, exercises are tailored to the individual athlete: flexibility; flexibility and strength; agility, balance, etc.

Coaches:

  • For Warm-up and Cool-down – rotate among athletes, correct improper technique, encourage, and motivate… that is your active role rather than standing around, being passive, and seemingly less involved!

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