But Australian Diamonds Sports Physiotherapist Steve Hawkins says there are other reasons why the warm up is of benefit. “An appropriate warm up serves to mentally prepare an athlete, help settle the nerves, and familiarise themselves with the nuances of the venue. It can also help build team morale and encourage talk and positive energy within a group. It is useless if athletes just go through the motions with no conscious thought for the game ahead.”
And for those reasons what constitutes a good warm-up has changed at the elite level in recent years. “Gone are the days of standing around doing long holds of static stretches. A warm-up should be about preparing the body for the activity about to come, and not too many sports involve standing and stretching. With that in mind, elite sporting warm-ups now consist of movement activities that replicate the demands of the sport “ says Hawkins.
Steve Hawkins also has some advice on how long the warm-up should last. “A warm-up should last long enough for you to start moving slowly and gradually build to some short bursts of high intensity activity that match the pace of the game you are about to play. For most sports this is likely to take at least as long as one period of matchplay. For example, if a quarter of netball lasts 15 minutes, then a good quality warm-up should take at least 15-20 minutes.”
For some additional tips on warming-up try the following page on the Australian Sport Commission’s website (http://www.ausport.gov.au/participating/coaches/tools/the_training_session/Warmup-Cooldown).
Specialist Sports Physiotherapist & Managing Director of Premax