Avoid This Big Mistake When Warming Up Young Athletes

Don’t Just Go Through the Motions During a Warm Up

All too often I see coaches and athletes making a huge mistake during the warm up section of a coaching session.

They just “go through the motions” of the warm up.

I see athletes who seem disengaged, not interested and look like they are “sleepwalking” through this part of the session.

I see a coach who may not even be watching. They might be chatting with someone else at the time the warm up is happening. They appear to me like they are treating the warm up as just a precursor to the rest of the session; like the “real” session starts after the warm up.

I believe that the session begins when the warm up begins.

I believe that the session begins when the warm up begins.

The warm up is an important part of the session. The athletes should be engaged. They should be interested and they certainly should be “switched on”.

The same goes with the coach. The coach can be doing a number of important things during the warm up. They can be:

  • Assessing the athletes for body language
  • Screening the athletes for movement
  • Looking for any sign of injury
  • Watching to see how the athletes are generally psychologically engaged

In his book 7 Keys to Being a Great Coach, Allistair McCaw says that the warm up provides him with “. . .a perfect opportunity to monitor how the athletes perform their routines and look to correct basic movements.”

The coach must also bring an energy to the session – and this should begin with the warm up.

The warm up sets the scene for the rest of the session to follow. Not only are there physical advantages in performing a good and interesting warm up, there are also psychological advantages that can influence the quality and ultimate success of the whole session.

Be present, engaged and active!

I encourage all coaches to be present, engaged,  and active during the warm up. Don’t just go through the motions and certainly don’t allow your athletes to just go through the motions. Let me know what you think about this by leaving a reply/comment or by using the contact details below.

Further reading

Warming Up the Crowd

7 of the Best Warm Up Games for Very Young Athletes

How to Use Ribbons To Warm Up Young Athletes

6 Great Games to Use When Coaching Young Athletes

7 Keys to Being a Great Coach – Allistair McCaw

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20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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