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Dangerous Warm up Drill?

Jun 29, 2009
Hi, have a question for the experts. I am not the type of parent that likes to question a coach, but I have a drill that appears to be counterproductive.

My Daughters play on a U12 travel team. Their new coach's favorite warm up activity to start each practice is to develop arm strength by pairing up and playing toss at about 50 feet with their feet shoulder width apart and the soles of their feet remaining on the ground.

This is their first activity of practice without any stretching. It seems that many of the kids are developing arm and back issues with the strain on these muscles. I also believe at this age it would be more beneficial to teach proper mechanics of involving the lower body and core than a drill that may develop poor mechanics.

Wondering if I am off base on this or if there is reason to be concerned.



Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
I disagree. Stretching should *NOT* be done before the muscles are warmed up.

Warm up is important and beneficial; however stretching within the warm up does not furnish the presumed benefits of injury reduction and enhanced muscle performance. Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D.
Never stretch a cold muscle. Always get a little sweat going before subjecting your muscles to any stress. Ten minutes of light-intensity cardio will do it. Men's Health, 2002.
You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favorite exercise at low intensity for five to 10 minutes. Better yet, stretch after you exercise — when your muscles are warm and more receptive to stretching. Mayo Clinic
Stretching is done *AFTER* the muscles are warmed. I.e., they should do some light throwing or running, and then stretch.

I'm not sure if this is light throwing or not for this particular group of girls. If it is, then there is nothing wrong with the drill.
Aug 4, 2008
Let me say we do not Stretch we do the following and I disagree with throwing first! Never use a muscle group till it is warm. Throwing from this distance and flat footed is insane.

Running Times Magazine: Running-Specific Circuit Drills We use the Dynamic Warmup drills that team USA does.
Plus here is another article about why we do drills to prevent injuries.
Plus I suggest anyone training girls reads this on preventing injuries.
Why girls have ACL issues.
May 17, 2008
Dangerous Warm Up Drill

Hello everyone,
I agree with not stretching before the muscles are warmed up. Throwing from 50 feet is not a warm up and it is also dangerous on cold muscles. I cannot understand either how the coach finds it to be beneficial for someone to throw without using the legs, especially if the individual is still developing his/her skills. The coach is setting them up with bad mechanics.
A warm up should be gradual and lightly involve the activity that you are going to do. For example, if you are planning to work on throwing, start out at a short distance and throw as light as you can (don't focus on velocity), but on correct mechanics and follow through. After your muscles have warmed up, go through a stretching routine that you/and your coach have found to be both effective and safe. Then, go back to the activity gradually (important word, gradually) increasing velocity and distance.
It is important when you are doing a warm up to do the activity as you would in a game, but gradually. If you are using proper mechanics during a game or a practice, why sell yourself short of those mechanics during a warm up?
Lori (Magglio36)
May 12, 2008
Various throwing drills like this can be useful but that's another subject. Was there no running or dynamic warm up of any kind before practice?

Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
50 feet is too far for a warm up drill. At 11 and 12, they are just learning to throw.

I would warm my own DD up across the street or something and then go to the game or practice.

Is the coach alright, other than that?
Jun 29, 2009
No there are no formal warm-up activities, as kids arrive they fool around a little, but this is the first drill once everyone arrives. (And I should have worded the orignal post better using warming up instead of stretching.) And it is not a toss, the kids are encouraged to throw hard to develop arm strength.

And no the coach is not all right otherwise. Honestly he is the typical parent who is trying to get the success he never had through his kids. 10 negatives for every one positive to the players, telling them they will have to sit if they make mistakes, setting up the kids to fail (example trying to steal third base, down one run in the last inning with two outs and your best hitter up). But we can handle those things, you are going to find that in youth sports from time to time, but I am more concerned with the kids health and well being with this drill.

Practices often involve all kids in one line to field a ball. When they were taking flyballs the other night I lost count of the kids that grabbed their shoulder after throwing in to the other coach acting as the cutoff person. (Fortunately my 2 kids are not bothered yet) This flyball drill is what immediately followed the warm-up drill.

Enough said?
May 12, 2008
You have to protect your kids from ignorance. Whether you let them continue with this guy is a HTBT call but I would surely get there early and have my kid or kids good and warm before Coach Mitty shows up. And I'd attend every minute of practice and games.

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