photo credit: fiverlocker
When I was in school there was a certain way to warm up. A way the PE teachers of the world instilled in us kids. It goes something like this:
Do nothing, just start playing from standing. After all, cavemen didn't have time to warm up if a sabre toothed tiger chased them. If you are really keen you might throw a couple of balls to the keeper before taking the field.
The advanced version of this warm up arrived a couple of years later. It was a little better.
Some players (especially the Aussies) in my club started jogging around the outfield before play. They carefully stretched out their muscles and made much more of an effort all round.
If they were out of form they may have had a net in season.
Of course, most people politely declined.
Now things are changing. The most read article ever on this site is this one about warming up. All ECB coaches are taught how to warm players up before matches and training sessions.
That means, I hope, that more people are warming up properly than ever.
Mistakes to avoid
The horrors of school PE may be long behind me, but I still see players make mistakes in their warm up that may be costing them in a game situation and look like Mr Johnson taught them all those years ago.
Here are some classics to avoid
- Static stretching. Stretching is an important element of fitness. However, stretching before a game only serves to reduce the effectiveness of your muscles to produce power. As cricket involves powerful movements you are best leaving the stretching alone.
- Mobilising your lumbar spine. Your lower spine is not designed to twist and turn very much. That's the job of your hips and your upper spine. Warm up exercises that get your back twisting or hyper-extending need to be avoided for most people to be safe.
- Playing to warm up. Before you even think about playing a shot or bowling a ball your body needs to be warm, mobile and ready for action. Warming up to play reduces your risk of injury, especially if you are a little older.
- Jogging. A warm up needs to progressively increase in intensity. A slow jog around the outfield will warm your muscles al little but it's a bit dull and not very specific. By all means jog to get started but make sure you add in plenty of mobilising exercises that get you moving your body through its range of motion and gradually increase the tempo.
- Cooling down again. It's impossible to stay warm if you are waiting to bat for hours, but don't confine your warm up to the 20 minutes before play. If you warm up the just sit down again it's a waste of effort. If you are inactive waiting to bat or in the field, keep doing things to keep your muscles warm like jogging between overs or facing a few throw downs every half hour or so.
There are still a lot of people who don't warm up at all. They are still living the school PE stage of cricket preparation. You don't want to be there do you?© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008