Article Written By: Bruce Capers
Head Coach, Gordon State College
Top Athlete Warmups for a Better Performance
Coaching basketball for over 20 years, I have noticed a direct correlation between student athletes’ high-level performance and their ability to engage in proper warmups and stretching techniques. Young athletes in large numbers simply do not like warming up first and then stretching.
This is something that is done consistently at EXACT Sports national showcase camps, unlike the traditional college id camp, EXACT implements college-style training and mental toughness skills into the camp curriculum
I can remember plenty of occasions when warmups felt like a complete workout, but we were only at the beginning stages. Many athletes at the end of the day sell themselves short with this mentality. They are performing without the full range of motion in their joints and muscles which directly impacts their performance levels.
Advantages to Preparing Your Muscles
There are several advantages and benefits to preparing your muscles and joints ready for action. Increased blood flow, improved balance, less strain on the heart, increased elasticity in muscles, timing, and coordination to elevate your performance while decreasing chances to be injured.
A warmup prepares your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Warmup strategies also help reduce (DOMS) delayed onset muscle soreness. Cool down is as important as the warmup because your body gradually recovers allowing body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure to return to their normal state.
There are several stretching exercises to get you ready to hoop. Dynamic stretches are great for warmups because it prepares your body mentally and physically for the performance. Static stretching is those stretches you hold a single position without movement. Static stretching is most effective during post-workout.
The following are (15) stretches that are good examples to get you ready for basketball:
1. Standing Quad Stretch
2. Butterfly stretch
3. Hamstring scoops
4. Calf stretches
5. Side lunges
6. Forward lunge with rotation
7. Cross-arm stretch
8. Lower back stretches
9. Ankle pops
10. High Knees
11. Butt Kicks
13. Knee hug
14. Quad walk
In summary, Basketball requires a lot of energy to perform with intensity at a high level. In addition to warmups and stretching athletes should:
- Eat 2 hours in advance a pregame meal high in carbs
- Stay hydrated to perform well
- Drink water consistently the day and night before a game
- Jog and stretch to warm up muscles to get your blood pumping and help prevent injuries
- Do many shooting and ball-handling drills to get you focused and locked in
- Always arrive at the gym early to give yourself enough time to dress and get ready properly
- Take some time to yourself and take deep breaths to clear your to mind to compete
Remember it is normal to feel nervous before a game. As a former player, when I was nervous before a game it meant I was prepared and ready to go get it done. Make sure you get (8) hours of sleep the night before a game. Pack your bag the night before leaving you one less thing to focus on. Follow these simple warmup and stretching strategies. Now you are ready to ball out.
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