Before training or playing a match in my sport I will always follow a warm-up program. This warm-up will help prevent injury such as muscle pulls and tears. As well as being physically prepared it will also help me be mentally prepared which is especially important in a match situation.
My warm-up consists of a few running drills and then into a set of stretches followed by some skilled drills.
It is very important to do some running drills before stretching as muscles need to be stretched when warm to prevent injury. A simple 3 minute jog would warm the muscles enough for stretching.
These are the stretches that I would go through. Each stretch has a diagram, to demonstrate how the stretch is done, and the names of the muscles being stretched.
Neck muscles (Sternocleidomastoid and scalenes)
Shoulder muscle (Deltoids, Trapezius and Triceps)
Quadriceps (Rectus temoris and Sartoius)
Gluteus Maximas (Gluteuls)
Groin (Pectinus, Odducta longas and Odducta magnus)
The final part of my warm up consists of practicing skills with my teammates. There are many forms that we can practice skills with.
Grid work will be set out with players on four corners facing each other as shown in the diagram.
= running path
The players will run to the opposite corner of the grid with a rugby ball and pass it on the player facing them. They can pass it on in number of ways;
* A simple pass
* A pop pass for the player to run onto
* A high pass for the player to jump for
* A gut pass
Another drill that can be used is the lateral passing drill. Rather than passing forward in grid work, lateral passing consists of passing backwards down a line like a match situation. Players should be in several groups of about 3 to 6 and they should line up at two opposite ends as shown in the diagram.
= running path
= ball path
Each group should run to the other end while passing the ball along the line. The distance should be enough for the ball to go down the line 3 times.
Benefits of a warm up
If a warm up is carried out in the right way it can give many benefits:
* Loss of muscle stiffness
* As haemoglobin releases oxygen easier at higher muscle temperatures there is facilitated oxygen utilization by the muscles
* Speed and force of contraction is increased as the higher temperature of the muscle gives it more energy
* Vascular beds dilate in the active tissues increasing blood flow
* As muscles are warmed there is reduced resistance which allows a greater economy of movement
* Reduces chance of injuries such as tears, pulls etc.
A cool down is just important as the warm up and should always be done after training or a match.
I will always cool down after a match or training with my team by simply jogging for 5-10 minutes. This will gently decrease my body temperature. I will also do a series of stretches for 5-10 minutes.
Benefits of a cool down
A cool down will give a number of benefits:
* Reduce the chances of DOMS (Delayed-onset muscle soreness)
* Decrease the level of adrenaline in the blood
* Helps in the release of lactic acid in the muscles