What to Discover or Recall:
Discover the importance of warming up and it's effects on player performance and health.
Find out that early time and warm-up sets the tone for a successful practice.
Learn the "Do's" and "Don'ts" of warm-up.
Explore samples of light running and basic shooting programs.
Learn about stretching techniques and the physiological benefits of warming up.
Starting a strenuous physical activity, such as basketball, without proper warm-up is not only detrimental to a player's health, but to their athletic performance as well. The warm-up period for basketball should be composed of some light running or shooting followed by a thorough stretching program. It should be of sufficient duration and intensity to adequately prepare oneself for the physical demands of the workout or game. The main purpose of a warm-up is to prepare for muscular activity, and is not an exhausting activity to bring on fatigue. Therefore, players should not to expend themselves during the warm-up periods especially before a game.
NEVER stretch cold muscles, a proper stretching program actually start with some light running or shooting drills. At the minimum, jog a few laps around the gym before stretching. If desired, dribble a ball while jogging. However, be sure to have players dribble using both right and left hands. At the corners, switch hands by alternating front cross over, spin (reverse pivots), behind the back and between the legs techniques.
In lieu of jogging, it is more beneficial to do a series of specifically related basketball running exercises going down the length of the court and back keeping hands up.
Early Time Basic Line Running Program
If preferred, a basic light shooting program can be substituted for the light running exercises.
Early Time Basic Shooting Program
If players have any back, neck, bone or joint problems consult their doctor before undertaking a stretching program. Also, if a player encounter pain while stretching, it is a good indication that something is medically wrong and should not be ignored.
Stretching is performed by slowly moving a joint to it's complete range of motion. A gentle pulling should be felt in the desired muscle. Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds, and then extend just a little bit further for a few more seconds. Do not stretch to the point of pain or bounce since this may cause injury to the muscle. Normally, stretch each muscle (group) three times with each subsequent stretch progressively done with increased flexibility and range.
In performing the various stretching exercise, it is important to warm-up the entire body. Alternate between agonist and antagonist muscle groups (quadriceps and hamstrings / biceps and triceps) alternating right and left sides.
Do not hold your breath. Breathe slowly and relax. Relaxing is a very important element in stretching. Stretching is not a rushed or social event. Free up your mind. Visualize proper form and technique.
Physiological Benefits of Warm-up
Age Factor: Muscle elasticity and range of motion decreases with age. Bending or flexing becomes more limited and the muscles take longer to stretch out. This is why stretching regularly, as part of a routine, is very important, especially the older you get. Failure to stretch properly will only increase the chance of injury that can lead to missing a game or even the entire season.
Do not leave the responsibilty of stretching up to the coach. If the team does not stretch as a group then players should do it on your own.
Flexibility will only increase with work over a long period of time. There are no short cuts.
Stretch after Practice: When you exercise, muscles shorten and tighten. Therefore, stretching after practice should be an intregral part of any basketball training program. Stretching after practice prepares players for the next day's practice or game.
Importance of Cooling Down