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Preparing For The Game At Hand

by Max Cook

There are many strategies for trying to prepare your team to get properly warmed up.  I will hit on the main scenario for pre-game warm-up- preparing for the first game of the day.

Most teams have their own set warm-up that they perform; however, in my opinion the overall goal for warming up before the first game of day should be to get everyone’s body and mind ready to compete at its peak level.  The problem with that is with a team of 25+ players, all those bodies and brains react to stimuli differently.  Due to this, team leaders should always be open to allowing teammates to deviate from the set warm-up if it better prepares that player for action.  Most teams allot about an hour of time for a proper first game warm-up, so that means you should try and get your team to the fields about 75-80 minutes before the round starts to allow for everyone to cleat up, slather on some sun-screen, and toss around the Frisbee to feel the wind. 

Once you get everyone rounded up, I always think it’s a good idea to give about five minutes for everyone to mentally prepare for the game at hand.  There are various mental exercises that can be performed, but my overall goal during this time is typically to have players envision being successful (getting a D, catching a goal, throwing  an assist, breaking the mark, storming the field, etc).  The mental preparation can be at the beginning  of the warm-up or at the end of the warm-up right before the game, my personal preference is to have it at the beginning because I feel the team is usually more focused for the hour leading up to the game.  After the brain exercises, some form of cardio (extended jog) is good to get the blood flowing and the muscles ready to go into some stretching.  

Some form of dynamic stretching is then the next step:  recent studies state that dynamic stretching (high knees, butt kicks, lunges, shuffles, etc.) is a preferred method to properly get the muscles fully prepared for intense movement; however, some players still prefer static stretching.  After getting a good stretch, to further assist the muscles in getting fully prepared for game like movements, I like to do multiple progressive cross-field sprints that culminate in a full sprint. 

After the stretch/cross-field exercises, it’s good to allow everyone to get some liquids (water or drink-ade) and eat some food.  The next 10-15 minutes are usually occupied by some drills that will prepare your team for the upcoming game; throwing drills that incorporate game time cuts, and marking drills that focus on not getting broken.  Ideal drills don’t involve lots of standing around allowing muscles to get cold.  After going through a couple drills, it is always good to get in a short scrimmage so that come point one in the game, everyone has already gone through game-time situations at game-time speeds.  In my opinion, the opponent’s end zone is where most turnovers occur due to the field space being minimized, so I look to practice a few end zone sets during this scrimmage time.   

After a good intense scrimmage, I usually allot about five minutes for free time so that players can practice aspects of their game (pulling, hucking, three-man mark) or better prepare themselves for the game ( additional time to stretch, additional mental exercises, etc.).   Last but not least, the final five minutes are used to bring the team together to discuss strategy (Is it windy?  Are we going to run zone?  Do we need to be ready for zone?  What players do we need to identify, and what are their strengths that we need to take away?  Is this a physical team?).  Once all those things are completed, it should be game-time!  

For me, the key aspect to a successful warm-up is having a set routine that the entire team knows and is comfortable with and that maximizes your time before a game.  However, you should always be dynamic and ready to alter your routine to change if the conditions call for it.  Below is a quick timeline of a generic pre-game warm up.

  • 755-800:  Mental preparation
  • 800-810:  Jog
  • 810-825:  Dynamic Warm-up & Cross-field
  • 825-830:  Drill (Throwing)
  • 830-835:  Drill (Marking)
  • 835-850:  O v D scrimmage
  • 850-855:  Free time (pull, eat, drink, rest, shade, etc.)
  • 855-900:  Strategy discussion
  • 900:  Game-time 


huddle issue033

Tue June 28th, 2011
Preparing for the Game at Hand
by Max Cook

Get Your Team on One Page
by Greg Husak

Routine Need Not Mean Redundant
by Matt Mackey

The New School Warm-up
by Tim Morrill

Find What Works For Your Team
by Chelsea Putnam

Three Warm-Up Fundamentals
by Miranda Roth

Team Pregame Warm-Up Routines
by John Sandahl

Shift Your Focus
by Melissa Witmer

We Will Laugh
by Ben Wiggins




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