This summer I am coaching the U15 national basketball team here in my country.
They go through long high-intensity practices about 4x per week, and part of my job is getting them ready (So Warm ups). And also post-practice work (cooldown, stretches e.t.c.)
Things are going great so far, I wanted to check here if anyone has any great ideas that I haven’t thought about so I could start implementing them during the summer.
Any warm up tricks, essential stretches/movements or any sort of helpful tip would be much appreciated.
Looking forward to hear from you guys,
Ben Patrick, [14/07/2023 04:08]
Gunnar that’s awesome! Well done… I am very unorthodox when it comes to training and that even includes “warm up”. Here’s an example:
7 Levels of Dribbling Balance and Footwork Balance
Gunnar this was STEP 1 for my high school team I coached. Step 1 was these dribbling levels. Notice how the moving drills work the knees in each main direction. In fact, I made a video just on how dribbling-knee go together…
4-Direction Knee Drill For World-Class Dribbling!
So, I wasted ZERO TIME for my players. “Warm up” step 1 IS ONE AND THE SAME with Practice Step 1. Step 2 is Jump Balance applied to jump shots, and basketball moves, and finishes. By this time your skills have improved and you’re fully ready to play.
james thorpe, [13/07/2023 13:19]
Hey Gunnar! If you’re not familiar with the theme of ‘ecological dynamics’, I highly recommend checking it out. I learned about it through coach Alex Sarama. Evidence based movement theory with practical applications.
I always used ‘80s mix’ to begin any hoops. (20 Tibs, 20 kot calf, 20 more Tibs, 20 fhl calf). Play 80s music during. 😁
Tag is one of the best ways to warm up especially kids for basketball. So many good tag games. It has unpredictable movement which basketball is FULL of. And everyone always has a smile playing it. Pac-Man tag is so fun. Playing while dribbling a basketball adds a skill.
Using props like a mat on the floor, or foam rollers, boxes, etc. it’s great to give autonomy to players to choose how to use to bring all joints through range and loosen up.
Lastly, I would say if there is any running… Utilizing backward walking/running, as much as forward is key to engage/activate the VMO’s/quads, etc. Sprints are over used in basketball… Not enough restorative backward movement.
Happy to give more details if you need…best! 😁
Gunnar Sverrisson, [13/07/2023 13:29]
Great, thank you James! Excellent advice, we have been playing a lot of tag-style games. Be sure to send me the rules for Pac-Man tag if you can. I'd love to hear more
Ben Patrick, [14/07/2023 04:12]
Gunnar this is an example of something I would never do, just so you have my 100% honest answer… I wouldn’t waste time using the athletes’ bodies. For me, every moment with my athletes was my responsibility to make them better. Playing tag is more wear and tear just like the game of basketball. My warm up above would TRANSFORM your team’s skill. Likely none of your players can do those drills yet. All of mine could by the end. This is how I took an entire team of unrecruited players and made them a D1 scholarship factory.
Gunnar send me video of YOU and your players doing those drills. Me and my entire team could, and I’ve never seen basketball transformations so consistently executed. You have a cheat code waiting for you.
Gunnar Sverrisson, [14/07/2023 12:12]
Thank you for reaching out! @Kneesovertoesguy, Great stuff. I'll make sure to try and implement as much as I can. Although I agree that the tag' style games might not be the ideal "warm up" I find them great for morale boosting / socializing, since these guys are coming from all over the country and still getting to know each other.
We are already doing lots of Tib Raises, Calf raises, Calf stretches and other ATG specials to get ready for practice, but knee-work with a basketball is definitely way more fun for these young guys. I'll take you up on those videos
Ben Patrick, [15/07/2023 05:22]
Gunnar awesome! Few have the guts to master those drills! Takes exception competence. But you CAN help every one of your players do so. This is how my taller players wound up flourishing, by winding up more skilled than their previous coaches gave them targets to reach.
james thorpe, [14/07/2023 14:53]
I think these one on zero dribbling drills are great… But for homework or time in the gym individually, not for the two hours of team development in a practice.
Ben Patrick, [15/07/2023 05:26]
james let me start by apologizing for not enough clarification.
The question was in regards to how to warm up on the court. That was my exact warm up for my players. People are free to do WHATEVER they want. I should have been more clear about that, as my intention is not to put down anyone else’s idea.
I was just sharing exactly what I found worked best with my players. Rather than doing other non-basketball warm-ups, we used those warm up times to improve the skills and warm up the body concurrently. This removed the need for even more skill work on top of practice.
I have a passion for helping young athletes not overtrain, and if you have practice AND skill AND body training, it really starts to add up.
By using our warm up AS our skill work, we saved our bodies from extra mileage, and opened up more results from strength training.
Without mastering the drills it probably wouldn’t make much sense to someone. Less than 1% of players can when starting out. But EVERYONE can work at the drills, and more than 50% (really, ALL, if enough time) can do them, winding up far more skilled than the norm, and covering warm up in the process! (Rather than random stuff to warm up that isn’t increasing skill, which just adds to the total overuse of the body. I took the time with my players very seriously, no overdue unnecessarily. Everything has a big purpose.)