Purpose of a warm-up

Children will often perform physical activity and exercise without any preparation. They start and stop as they see fit whilst playing and they often undertake a variety of explosive and more endurance based play/exercise, for example, hopping and jumping around and running based games like tag or chasing. Coaches need to ask themselves, if children just exercise naturally with no preparation, what is the purpose of a warm-up and will it benefit the training and learning of the child? A well-designed warm-up can be very beneficial to any training session as it prepares the players for the session to come. Concentration levels in children can be low and so a warm-up can get them tuned in and working on some skills prior to the main session. There is also a physiological benefit to warming up the players as muscles generally function more efficiently at a warmer body temperature which is good for performance. As discussed in the previous modules the actual amount of structured, formal training should be low. They should be encouraged to learn movement skills and sports skills through activities and games that encourage exploration, enjoyment, and a sense of achievement. The coach must look at bringing this philosophy into the warm-up to continue engaging the children in sport and rugby. The warm-up can have a specific target or aim like fundamental movement skill development for example, but it should be fun and enjoyable. A warm-up should always be purposeful and never ignored. It is 10-15 minutes of the training session and so it needs to add in some way to the preparation, learning and pleasure the child will get during the session.