You’re hyped! You’re pumped! You are so ready to go. The other team has arrived, and your heart rate is matching the music coming out of some giant speakers behind you.
WAIT! Before you jump in with both feet, take a moment to get your muscles and joints prepared for the fight.
Calm the rush in your head and breathe.
Many injuries are caused each year because overzealous players think that when their heart rate is up, their body is prepared for the game. Nothing could be further from reality.
Sitting on the ground reaching for your toes or standing with your foot hitting your glute behind you may seem time-consuming and pointless to you now. But try running and kicking your hardest without it, and you’ll become a believer in warming up.
Hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves and even shoulders should be given at least 10 minutes of deep stretch before hitting the field for actions.
Moving through a stretch, whether some simple kicks or flapping your arms out and then around yourself repeatedly, helps your muscles to warm and blood to start moving through them efficiently. You may not always look like a star during these movements, but you will play like one – and without injury!