Active warmup and cooldown exercises for practice?

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MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
15,012
Pittsburgh, PA
So, I've recently agreed to become the coach of a HS ultimate team, my qualification for which is "I've played a bunch and have some schedule flexibility". Needless to say, it's intimidating jumping into ordering people around a field, although the kids are generally pretty chill. For those not familiar, ultimate is a field sport that visually resembles soccer (have to cut to get open to receive a pass), with the objective resembling football (catch the disc in the opposing end zone for a score). Athletically, the main actions are a lot of cutting hard on a route like a WR, covering someone in man defense (like a CB), various arm and wrist actions for throwing, and some vertical leaping to catch a floating, contested pass.

I could use some advice about a warmup and cooldown routine before both practices and games that makes sense and isn't over-involved. Maybe 10-15 mins prior and 5-10 mins after. The sport tends to generate a disproportionate number of sprains and similar injuries relative to other non-contact sports, due to the hard cutting, and lack of general attention to stretching or conditioning. Elite adult club teams have athletic trainers and take lots of time on such things, but the kids (and rec-level adults) often roll ankles, pull hamstrings, and occasionally pop ACLs. I'd like to minimize that risk.

I figure a good routine won't be that different from soccer, football or basketball, I just don't know what that would be. Right now we:

Warmup:
- Take a few laps, including follow-the-leader laps to do different steps or cuts along the way
- Basic stretches in a circle, including groin, calf and quad
- 20-yard back-and-forth runs (resembling suicides) at steadily increasing intensity starting from ~50%
- Doing the same back-and-forth with (A) shuffle steps, (B) carioca or crossover steps, (C) directional lunges, (D) high-knees
- Tossing to warm up throws

Cooldown is mostly just those same stretches in a circle again while we talk about the game or practice.

I couldn't tell you the specific physical intent behind some of these, except that a guest coach I once had did it and I've imitated that since. There are some books on coaching ultimate that I've perused, but they either spend little time on stretching and warmup/cooldown routine, or assume that you've got like 30 minutes to do a huge set of actions.

All advice welcome. My knowledge of stretching is pretty thin, I just know there's been an evolution of thought in recent years from more static stretches to more active ones.
 

wiffleballhero

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SoSH Member
Mar 28, 2009
3,258
In the simulacrum
- Basic stretches in a circle, including groin, calf and quad
Don't do this, at least not in a traditional, static way.

Following your own awareness of changing attitudes, it is both a waste of time and worse than doing nothing, even if people have been doing it since the beginning of time. Warm them up doing light, game relevant motions and get them moving a little faster as they get warmer. Also, they are young, just get on with it, you'll be fine.
 

McBride11

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Jul 15, 2005
16,862
Charleston, SC
Don't do this, at least not in a traditional, static way.

Following your own awareness of changing attitudes, it is both a waste of time and worse than doing nothing, even if people have been doing it since the beginning of time. Warm them up doing light, game relevant motions and get them moving a little faster as they get warmer. Also, they are young, just get on with it, you'll be fine.
What about I guess, static stretches, between workouts because one has a sore // tight hamstring or quad or whatever?
 

TomTerrific

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SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
1,977
Wayland, MA
I've grown pretty fond of this routine:

https://yurielkaim.com/dynamic-warm-up-exercises/

I typically either play basketball or lift weights, though honestly I only play b-ball from 1-3 times/week, depending on travel, and lift about 1/week. Occasionally I'll go running.

In the past I've been bedeviled by a hamstring or glute pull, especially come the winter time when my b-ball frequency picks up. I always did my stretching post workout, and it was largely static. This routine I do pre-workout, and so far this year, no injuries. It also has the virtue of being something you can mostly do (except for the inchworm, perhaps) in a hotel room, and by itself it can be a reasonable workout substitute.
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
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Jul 15, 2005
21,098
Static stretches make you weaker for a while. They are best done before bed, afaik.
 

wiffleballhero

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 28, 2009
3,258
In the simulacrum
Static stretches make you weaker for a while. They are best done before bed, afaik.
Yeah, in the short term, I think this is the consensus. They are good, but simply put, just not when most people have done them for the last 75 years. Your body needs to recover from them, whereas active stretching actually will loosen you up for whatever performance you are about to undertake.