As promised in my last article I am going to talk about the proper way to get warmed up. Too many players go out to the field and start playing catch before they get their bodies stretched out. Some of it comes from youthful exuberance and the fact that some look at stretching as boring. Other times it comes from a coach being lazy and just wanting to get to the baseball side of practice. While I can’t fault a kid’s excitement to start playing catch, I will lay blame on a coach for not preparing his team the way he should.
I hear similar phases like the following all the time. “They’re just kids and won’t get hurt.” “I only have 90 minutes for practice.” “The kids don’t like it and I don’t want to hear them complain.” All of these statements have something in common. They are excuses. You are the coach and the players follow your lead. It is your job to have a game plan written up before you get there so you can help your team improve their level of play. It is also your responsibility to do your very best to prevent injuries so the players can do what they love- PLAY!
A very simple routine that takes as little as 5 to 10 minutes can be performed to get their blood pumping and their muscles loosened up. I prefer dynamic stretching versus static stretching when preparing for an athletic event. Static is when you hold a stretch in place. Dynamic is when you are moving as you are stretching.
Listed below is a set of movements we do prior to practices, games and camps. I encourage you to try them at your next event. For the lower body, set up cones or some other object as a start and end point. I would separate them 20 to 30 yards apart. For the upper body, go through each motion 10 repetitions.
1.) Jog one lap around the field or a couple times around the bases.
2.) Side shuffle to your right, then go back to your left facing the same way.
3.) Carioca to your right, then go back to your left facing the same way.
4.) Run backwards, then sprint forward to your starting point.
5.) Skip forward, then power skip (jump higher) to your starting point.
6.) Lunge as you do a midsection twist forward, then do this backwards to your starting point.
1.) Place arms at a 90 degree rock your arms forward and backward at the shoulder joint. Perform three sets at different hand positions: palms up, palms down and thumbs up.
2.) Do the same as #1 except now cross your arms over your chest.
3.) Do the same as 31 except now cross your arms behind your back.
4.) Place your elbows shoulder high, interlock your fingers with your throwing hand palm in, glove hand palm out. Pull your fingers in opposite directions and then move your arms in the following three motions: side to side, small circles forward & back, swim with elbows forward & back.
5.) Do the same as #4 except now interlock your fingers and then push your hands together as you complete the 3 motions.
6.) Place your arms shoulder high and then straighten them out to the sides of your body. Perform arm circles forward and backward in the following three hand positions: palms up, palms down and thumbs up.
We offer this routine, plus a lot more in our Coaches Manual. This 110 page manual is packed with drills and exercises. You can pick this up on our Online Store by clicking here- Cactus Athletics Store.
Please remember with any new exercise, if you experience pain stop immediately and consult your physician.