Have you always warmed up the same way?
There is more to your Badminton warm up than just running up and down the hall for 5 minutes.
Here are some ideas to improve your warm up and to prepare yourself for training or matches. These tips will give you suggestions to incorporate into your warm-up and ways to change it to suit yourself.
1 Watch others
2 Know your body
3 Take your time
4 Have a routine
5 Ensure it works
6 Mental Preparation
1 Watch others
At tournaments and practice sessions look to see how others warm up, especially the older elite players. There are many ideas to get just by watching them while you warm up 🙂
- How long do they take?
- What stages do they go through?
- How does the intensity vary from start to finish?
- Do they stretch before they jog or afterwards?
See how they go through the various stages and if you can recognise things they do that you currently use. Some may skip, run or jog on the spot.
Expect to observe different things between players. Can you spot which ones have injuries or are paying attention to certain body parts
When you go to watch big tournaments such as the All England, World Champs or your Nationals, try to remember what you see the best players doing. If you are able to get a pass to the warm up hall then you can really see how long players warm up for and what extra they do apart from running and stretching.
At competitions, warms up are more individual and will be required more than once. There is an art to warming up before matches, it is certainly different from the training warm up at the start of the day.
Look and learn from others, it’s free education!
2 Know your Body
As you grow older you will be more aware of how your body feels and especially when it’s ready to play. Depending on what you have been doing previously, the time of day, current injuries or the growth phase you are in, the warm-up time and intensity will vary.
You must vary your warm-up according to how you feel, ensure that you pay attention to your feelings.
No standard warm-up routine will work for every occasion and throughout the season.
Try to feel how your muscles are responding, how your heart rate changes and the levels of perspiration you experience. If you have ‘niggles’ that don’t go away then be careful, it could be an early sign of injury.
You may even decide to use pre-event or pre-training massage administered by a trained sports masseur. I recommend that you give this a try if you have access to a masseur, especially in the mornings after a tough day before.
Make sure you leave enough time afterwards to warm up the power systems in your body. You don’t want to be too relaxed 30mins before you go onto the court.
3 Take your Time
There is no standard time for a warm up.
There are set ‘knock up’ times prior to matches, but these should NOT be considered as warm-up periods. On a cold winters morning do not be hurried into shortening your warm-up if you are not ready for the practice ahead.
However, try not to use valuable court time at the start of a practice session. Warm-up at the back of the court if you can get access to the hall before the allotted start time.
If you can’t, then if possible warm-up in the corridor outside, pop into the gym, or get straight into your routine as you enter the hall.
If the information seems simple, it is. But are you taking the time to warm up before your session?
Some players book longer sessions and ensure that the period of time at the start (say 10 mins) and at the end is allocated to warming up. You can talk about the previous night’s TV or other none badminton subjects whilst your jog around the hall. However, I’d rather you use of the time to prepare your mind for the session ahead.
4 Have a routine
There are many different ways to warm up and players will even vary their routines over the years or depending on the type of session they are about to do.
A routine is important as it not only allows you to follow a sequence that prepares your body but it will also prepare you mentally as you go through the process.
Generally, there should be a number of phases to warming up:
- slowly raise your heart rate
- some form of dynamic stretching and making those important joints wake up and move
- an element to engage your explosive/fast response muscles
- further heart rate increases
- hitting shuttles and smiling!
Some players will use music to help get them ready. I’ve been in a few halls where once a week the mass group warm-up is an easy (but not me) fun aerobic ‘dance’ session. Somethings lasting only 5-10 mins its a great opportunity for everyone to prepare with a smile on their face 🙂
I would really like to hear if you vary your warm-up and if it contains any fun ‘smile’ moments
5 Ensure it works
It’s no good just going through the motions and presuming that after 5 or 10 minutes you must be ready to play.
Do you feel ready for what you are about to do? If not, why not?
Reflect on where you could change your routine and incorporate the changes at the next opportunity.
Don’t be afraid to change as you see and hear new ideas.
As your body grows stronger (or older!!) you will need to change the things you do. Vary the content, time and intensity.
As your expectations of training and especially tournaments change, then so must your warm-up.
- Find ways that prepare you physically and ways that help to control your thoughts
- It could be warming up for a tough S&C or Bleep Test, knowing that it’s going to HURT
- In competitions, you may need to deal with your ‘inner voice’ and ensure that whatever you say to yourself you use the warm-up time to good effect
- Enter the hall/court ready to play, not wishing you had done more
There is a reason for a warm-up, ensure that as best you can you prepare your body and mind. Never limit your thoughts when it comes to what you decide to include. Practice and Perfect in training and lesser competitions.
Playing in your Nationals is NOT the time to start double skipping if you don’t normally do that
6 Mental Preparation
Don’t forget to prepare your mind as well as your body
It may sound strange, but try to clear your mind of all the off-court thoughts you came into the hall with. There are processes to use that will help in this. Look out for future posts where I will try to explain the different ways I have experienced or been told about from other players.
Going into training straight from school or work can be tough. You will have to find ways to leave those non-badminton thoughts at the “back of the court” to be collected at the end of the session.
In competitions, the task is easier to define i.e. I am about to play a match with this goal in mind and with these key points. Focus the mind with cue cards that highlight 2 or 3 important points concerning this match or event. These thoughts can be written down in your badminton book or on the flash cards that I’m sure you carry in your bag.
The mental warm-up can start during the journey to the session
- Think about the work ahead
- Review the previous practice session
- Then check these thoughts against your training log, your diary
- Decide what you want to achieve over the next 1-2 hrs
- Create a picture in your head about that this next session will look like
Extra thoughts for coaches
- For practice, the type of warm-up may vary considerably and can form a combination of individual and group activities.
- Not every age group should warm up the same way
- The warm-up could start with a mini-game of Danish ‘Box’ or hitting across the court without a net
- Design and have lots of different ideas for your players to use in the individual/group warm up’s and warm-up games for all.
- Players can still arrive earlier to prepare individually before combining together for the group activity. Encourage players to have independent warm-ups
- Sometimes ask a player to lead the warm-up, it will create self-confidence and self-worth. It’s also a fun activity as its often not perfect.
- Why not try a small aerobics warm-up to their favourite music!!