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Get Your Team On One Page

by Greg Husak

The pre-game warmup can take on any number of forms, and I have seen successful routines span a huge range, from individual to team wide and from fully choreographed to ad hoc.  In all cases, the general goal of the warmup should be to get the body ready to perform at a peak performance.  This will require people to exert some energy, get a light sweat on and get the muscles firing, and should also include a few throws to help players calibrate to the conditions. 

One critical aspect to the chosen approach is that the team recognizes the value and feels that the team gets best prepared to play through the selected method.  As a team, this buy-in to the method used will make a huge difference in how mentally prepared the team is to play their best.  The successful Condor teams I played on derived strength from getting to the fields, doing plyometrics as a group, and running through a few drills together.  A lot of the confidence in this approach came from the work some players did with trainers.  Jam teams that I played on also had a strict routine that players enjoyed, involving plyometrics and drills, as well as a consistent playlist that helped serve as a countdown to gametime.  My interaction with players from DoG revealed that they took pride in warming up individually, putting the responsibility on each player to do what they needed to do to get ready.  I’ve seen other teams use half-field scrimmages to get the team warm and in game mode.

One issue that can occur is an overworking of the body in warmups.  In ultimate you usually have 3-4 games per day.  At nationals there may be over an hour between games, and so you have to figure out how to get your body ready without exhausting yourself with a difficult regimen of exercises.  In really hot weather, a warmup for a second or third game may only consist of a couple plyos and maybe a sprint or two.  In cold weather, an extended jog just to get the muscles loose may be required before an active warmup.  Understanding your body, and the condition of the team, will help determine how to to adjust warmups to the conditions.

This diversity of successful approaches to pre-game warmup indicates that there may not be a single, superior warmup method.  Certainly understanding the basics of what is needed in a warmup, how to create and tailor a routine to match the needs of an individual or team will determine what you or your team does pre-game.  Getting support from the whole team that the chosen approach, while maybe not best for each individual, does the best job of getting the whole team ready for the first pull is a critical component of a successful pre-game warmup.

huddle issue033

Tue June 28th, 2011

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