Most athletes know that they need to warm-up before any
type of exercise, but particularly before a game. Muscle stiffness, slow blood flow, and a sluggish heart rate are not conducive to the best sports
performance. The proper warm-up will avoid all these problems and get you ready for your event.
A quick aerobic warm-up can be used to start
things off. A light 5 or 10 minute jog is enough to get the blood moving and the heart going at a higher rate. It also increases your temperature,
which is important in relaxing tense and stiff muscles.
Many people who are not schooled in the proper ways to warm-up will use static stretching before an event, not knowing that they are actually hurting
their sports performance instead of helping it. Static stretching, by the way, is that old-school type where you stretch out slowly, hold the position,
and maybe even stretch a little more when that becomes comfortable. Static refers to the fact that you are not moving during the stretch. This type of
stretching has been used for years, but recent research has shown that static stretching is not a good option for warm-ups.
Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, are done with gentle, swinging movements. The arms and legs are swung back and forth, or side to side, to a point
where the limits of your range of motion are reached. Although the body is moving rather than static, the movements are smooth and controlled. Dynamic
stretching has been proven in practice to prevent injury and increase sports performance.
The athlete who is getting ready for a game will want to do some sports-specific technique drills before using those skills in the actual event. Basketball players might do some various dribbling
technique exercises or baseball players might do a drill that imitates the movements necessary for a double-play. These techniques drills will not only
warm up the body for the movements that are to come. They will also help the athlete focus his mind on the event and the steps needed to complete it
Athletes who want to improve their performance in a sports event should warm-up thoroughly every time. The first time you step onto the field without
doing the necessary aerobic, stretching and technical warm-up exercises, you will pay for it in one way or another. Even if you are lucky enough to
avoid injury, you will have diminished capacity compared to your potential. Your body will just not be working at its peak performance level. You and
your team will suffer the consequences. If you always warm-up correctly and completely, you will have a better chance to succeed each time.