Warm Up Exercises
Coaches and parents are realizing that warm up exercises for youth are important, too. It used to be that they weren’t encouraged much because it seems kids are immune to pulled muscles and the aches and pains older athletes experience. Now sports pediatricians are recommending that youth at all ages warm up before practice or a game. Here are some key warm up exercises that will keep your players or children in healthier condition as well as letting them perform at their very best.
It is always a good idea to stretch all the major muscle groups before strenuous exercise. Start with players seated on the ground for some toe reaches. Remember not to bounce but to slowly extend fingers toward your toes. Then stand up and do the same, or with legs crossed. Stretch the calf muscle like runners do before or after a workout. Arm stretches include arm raises and pulling each elbow across the body to stretch out the shoulders. For the waist and back rest a bat on your shoulders with your arms draped over it from behind. Rotate slowly to each side, extending yourself as far as you can. You should then take the bat and swing it, starting about half speed and working up to full speed in about 10 swings. These stretches and others like them will get players ready to run, throw and hit with as few injuries as possible.
You don’t want your players to be tuckered out before the game begins but it is important that they get their internal engines going in order to be ready for action at the first pitch of the game. Start them out on a steady jog from home plate down the right field line, across the outfield and back to home down the left field line. Several wind sprints will make sure they are warm and prepared to play. Only do the running after proper stretching.
Great Warm Up Exercises
It is a great idea to have batting practice before the start of the game whenever possible. Since leagues run on a tight schedule this can be difficult. Some youth athletic facilities have batting cages adjoining the fields where this can occur. If yours does not, consider having holding batting practice at a nearby practice field or schoolyard 45 minutes to an hour before the game. Make sure each player is properly stretched out and that they begin with slow swings designed to make contact, working up to taking 8-12 full cuts.
If full-fledged batting practice isn’t possible you might want to purchase a batting tee, a screen, and a couple bags of plastic practice balls. Let players take turns hitting off the tee into the net either before the game begins or while they are 2 or 3 hitters away from their at bat. This is a good idea even if they have had batting practice. It sharpens hand-eye coordination and loosens muscles to prevent injury and maximize performance.
Don’t forget to have your players warm up their arms for 10-20 minutes, starting with easy tosses to one another. Have them stretch out their distance to get in some long tosses. Then they should move closer again for some hard throwing before finishing.
A good routine of warm up exercises
For baseball and softball will do two great things for your team. First, they will limit the potential for injury while stretching and strengthening muscles. Secondly, they will allow your players to be fully prepared to reach their full performance potential. So make sure as a coach or a player that warm up exercises are included in your everyday routine.
Other Recommended reading:
Fury Fastpitch Warm Up 2010
Be strong, safe, do your exercises