MAKING GOOD USE OF THE WARM UP WITH DEVELOPING TRAMPOLINE GYMNASTS
(A document prepared by Jack Kelly for East Region Development Squad on 29th July 2012).
You know that warm up is an essential part of any training session and could probably quote the following potential benefits:-
- Raising the heart rate to working level.
- Raising the temperature of the working muscles.
- Preparing mentally for the work to follow.
- Exploring the existing range of movement.
- Minimising the risk of injury.
These benefits are by no means guaranteed unless the process is undertaken with focus, application, understanding and genuine belief. Too often the warm up is undertaken as token activity with coaches and gymnasts simply paying “lip service” to the principles. In a sport where time management is problematic due to the ratio of equipment to number of gymnasts, it is crucial to get as much benefit as possible from every part of the training session. With young gymnasts being developed towards competition, much valuable time is lost by failing to maximize the benefits of the warm up session. Whilst the above benefits are well accepted, the most important one is not on the list! Namely, EDUCATION!
During a ten minute floor warm up the coach can establish numerous “educational” elements which will carry over to the on-trampoline training saving substantial amounts of time on the equipment. However, in order to do this the coach MUST control the warm up and create a “learning environment” from which the following benefits may be extracted:-
- Awareness of posture
- Understanding balance and travel
- Awareness of shape and limb position in relation to flight
- Understanding of jumping mechanics
- Visualisation of trampoline skills
It is important to understand that ALL these benefits can be integrated into a warm up routine which still provides the conventional benefits shown in the first list. The benefits in the second list will not be accessed by accident and it is only with inspired and insightful coaching that these will take place.
IN MOST TRAINING SESSIONS THE WARM UP IS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY!
If you want to obtain the best return for your warm up activity, let me start by listing the things NOT to do! (Although focusing on the negative may be contrary to best teaching method, it may help you to recognise that change IS necessary).
If you want to get the greatest benefit from warm up AVOID…………….
- The gymnasts operating the warm up.
- Running round the area without speed control.
- Performance of any exercise or element with poor posture or form.
- Talking/laughing during the warm up.
- Running on polished floor whilst wearing socks.
On the other hand here are the Do’s as opposed to the DON’Ts………….
- Conduct the warm up within a compact, well defined area.
- Select each exercise with a transferrable element to the trampoline.
- Conduct the warm up in a disciplined manner.
- Observe the whole group and offer corrections.
- Make the gymnasts aware of the relevance of each exercise.
- Create “thinking links” which can be referred to during tramp training.
- Focus on “feel” throughout the warm up.
- Establish the principle of chatting/socializing while waiting to start then concentrate on the session. Chat/socialize when whole training session is over.
The foregoing advice is designed to give you “a bigger bang for your buck” but it does require a degree of effort which may not be currently in operation. Personal experience has taught me however, that the long term benefits of the approach can be impressive. The choice is yours!
International Performance Coach
The example warm-up routine Jack conducted is available here.