Warm up is simply the process of getting physically prepared for the activity to come. For track and field, warm ups usually involve an aerobic component (usually low intensity running) , active stretching and joint mobility (not holding stretch positions) followed by specific drills and faster sprinting, the aim being to gradually increase speed and range of movement as the warm up progresses. For competitive athletes warm up can take at least 30 minutes and is also an opportunity to get mentally prepared for the challenges ahead.
In the school context warm up activities can be more general and much quicker. Activities need to be within the capabilities of all of the children, be enjoyable and related in some way to the sport or activity being taught in the lesson. Speed walking may be appropriate for some children. When using running as a warm up, it may be appropriate to have a number of concentric circles with the better runners using the outer circuits. Innovation is key and the following games
Games which may be included:
Teams of 6 children, 3 stand facing the other 3, 15m apart. They are given a throwing implement the best being a Neuff javelot. The first child throws the implement to the first child in the opposite line. When thrown the child runs to join the end of the opposite line. The lines can be moved further apart (or nearer) according to the children’s ability and/or game can be made competitive in order to increase the intensity of the activity.
Passing the ball
In lines of 4 or 5 with students 2-3 m apart run up and down a course passing the ball
Equipment red-yellow-green cones
Leader stands in the middle with the cones and the students are directed to jog around. On the lifting of the relevant cone students are instructed to perform certain actions. Such as hopping –jumping – making a star shape – etc. On the green they should start jogging again.
Variation – on the lifting of the cone they should go to the circle of that colour.
Children stand in circle with one child (or teacher) in the middle. The students are asked to name types of beans and associated actions – ie runner bean and running on the spot – French bean and doing the Moulin rouge dance (make it up!) – jumping bean jumping on the spot, broad bean jumping for distance, etc. When the leader calls the name of the bean the students undertake the activity.
Rats and Rabbits
Children are divided into rats and rabbits. The rats are lined up behind a line and the rabbits are lined up behind a line 10 or 15m away with the two groups facing each other. The children lie down on their backs behind their line, heads facing towards the other group. On the command ‘rabbit’ those designated as rabbits get up and race to their ‘den’ before the rats touch them. It is important to try and confuse the by accentuating the ‘rrrrrrrrrr’ sound before saying the team name.
Equipment; 20 -25 cones spread out over an area.
Each colour of cone is designated a numerical value and placed with the cones with highest value furthest away.
Children are divided into teams of 4 and each team given a den with a ‘keeper’. On the whistle, the aim is to collect as many cones as they can (one at a time) in 30 seconds. When all the cones are collected their numerical values are added up – the team with the highest total is the winner.
Variation – only one team member is designated to collect cones at a time. When they return a cone that next team member goes to collect a cone.