I will admit when I was a Novice Coach I did this as part of the Warm Up for a game. I am fairly confident my thinking went no further than it seemed absolutely every other team seems to be doing this so I’ll do it too.
Before I tell you about what prompted this blog I think we need to cover why do we do a warm up. For me a warm up is to prepare the athlete both physically and mentally for the activity.
We get the body physically ready so it is able to perform at the correct level of intensity from the start and we prepare the player mentally so they are focused and ready to make decisions from the start.
Now let’s look at this exercise again with that definition in mind.
The majority of the time the players are standing still waiting their turn then do a short burst of activity (very short if they score or GK catches ball as they don’t have to retrieve the ball) then wait their turn again. Minimal physical preparation as players are not moving.
The players line up then shoot so the only decision is where to hit shot. Again minimal mental preparation as the players aren’t making decisions.
Now this is why I am writing this blog. Last weekend I was watching a visiting U8s team warm up. The Coach brought the team together had a quick chat then lined the players up for the above exercise. After all the players had had one shot I noticed the ‘big kid’ in the team Josh stood off to the side after his shot and instead of joining back of line jumped in front of next player and had another shot. All the players at the back of the line laughed and all the players at the front of the line complained.
Next all the players started trying it which meant the one ball they were using would sometimes get kicked sideways off the pitch and so would take longer to retrieve and there were even less bursts of activity.
After about 8/9 minutes the Coach looked at his watch and realised there was only a couple of minutes to go to kick off and so told the players their positions and put them in them taking the subs off with him. The players lined up but our side wasn’t ready and weren’t on the pitch.
So after about 10 seconds of standing around Josh left his position and got the ball that was left in the goal and they started playing a game. I think it was Josh and his mate against everyone else into their goal. The players ran around laughing and joking for about 2/3 minutes while our team got on the pitch.
The question now is for us as Coaches in terms of the definition above which one was the most effective warm up the adult led shooting exercise or the Josh led game.
I know which one I think was better preparation but interested to hear your thoughts.
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Till next time