9/23/2002 - It is very important for coaches to implement an efficient and effective pre-game warm-up system that works to get their team properly prepared for the game.
As a strength and conditioning coach since 1978, I have been very fortunate to be around so many good and different types of basketball coaches. During this time, what I admired about each coach is their unwavering focus on the game during the pressures of the season. Sometimes, however, coaches can become so focused on the X's and O's that they can forget the little things that, if left undone, can become problems.
During this time of year, coaches should make the most of their pre-practice and pre-game stretching routines. Going into tournament or playoff time, the last thing a team needs is an injury to a player.
Our pre-practice warm-up with the Charlotte Hornets usually takes about 12 minutes to complete. We start out by running three laps around the court. Next, the players stretch their calf muscles and Achilles tendons by stretching against a wall. These body parts can be prone to injury due to the frequent use among running and jumping athletes.
For an excellent calf stretch, face and lean against a wall keeping the leg or legs straight while keeping the heels down. Additionally, keep the toes pointed inward. When stretching the Achilles tendon, the same stretch, however, the knees should be bent and once again the heels remain on the floor.
Next in our warm-up sessions, we spend 2-to-3 minutes jumping rope while doing various routines. This is a great way to warm up the legs while preparing the ankle and knee joints for practice. After our jump rope sessions come 5-to-8 minutes of team stretching.
Make sure you are really concentrating on the major muscle group such as:Lat" muscles. This area is used for reaching rebounds and shooting. While in a seated position, spread both legs as wide as possible with knees slightly bent. Have teammates hold hands and pull each other forward and upward. Hold the stretch 5-to-8 seconds for three sets.
After stretching as a team, we put our players on the baseline and continue with a running warm-up for three minutes. These drills consist of:
- Ankle Flips - Running on the toes without bending the knees
- Butt Kicks - Jogging while leaning forward bringing the heels up behind
- High Knee Pumps - Running with good, powerful extensions of the knees
- Power Skips
- Carioca - Running laterally with crossover step
- Defensive Slides
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