Monday, March 26, 2007

Game day warmups

Sorry I've been out of touch for so long - both work and rugby have escalated and it seems theres hardly a free moment to breath.

As everyone's seasons are now ramping up it seems a good time to discuss match prep.

Like probably 99% of coaches on the planet (at least here in the states), "four corners" was always part of my teams warm up. I'm working with a new group of players, and the night before our first match as I was penciling in our warm up schedule, i realized that I have never run "four corners" with this particular group. I'd been operating under that axiom that "four corners" is match prep because you can do lots of different things, and everyone works together.

But seriously, is it really match prep? I mean, I'd never even run four corners in TRAINING, so why in the world would i even consider doing it before a game? Pre-match time is at a premium. We need to manage players confidence levels, let them warm but not hot, get them aroused but controlled.

So instead of four corners we used a continuous 3 v 2 game with very light contact. The results were marvelous! The decision making gates seemed to open wide, and it became clear as day to me that pregame isn't just about warming up bodies, it's about warming up minds, warming up communication channels.

What sorts of different things does everyone do pregame? How long do you warm up? I've seen teams practically scrimmaging as warmup, is that a good idea or not? How about varying warmups - is it safe to do different things based on the teams needs, or, is your teaching pedagogy that we always do the same thing for warmups, to get everyone in a common frame of mind?

Please share your opinions. It might be fun at a big tournament to go sit up on top of the camera man's scaffollding and get a birds eye view of all the different teams warmiups, see what they do the same, see what they do different. Better yet, see if there's a connection between how a team warms up and how they play.


Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa,

I know for me personally, warm-up needs to warm-up everything; my mind, my body and my voice. As a forward, it's necessary to go over lineouts and scrums just to make sure everyone is on the same page, but it is also necessary to run drills that help warm up the decision making process. One of the best things that Pete has done is introduce a full contact warm-up. For 5-10 minutes at the end of warm-up we split into two random teams and play full contact between the goal line and the 22. It lets me get out my nervous jitters and get used to contact. I know people are worried about injury, but when done in a controlled environment, I think it really helps.

-Alison W.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I hate full contact warmups. I am an injury-worrier (as the previous poster commented on). However, I like the concept of using drills similar to practice drills to warm up. Openning communication with the people who are actually THERE for the game (as oppossed to at practice) is so vital. I think its also REALLY helpful to run through the backline plays off the set piece pre-game as well. Sometimes us forwards have mental laspes, and its good to see the backs plan (or lack there-of) pregame.

~East Coast

Your Scrumhalf Connection said...

The warmup tool that warms it all up for me is unopposed, shadow or whatever you want to call it. Subs or rugger huggers are defense and you run your gameplan. I like this best when it is run a few minutes before the game, it reassures me that my brain is clicked on!

Also as scrumhalf I have the oppurtunity to warm up with my forwards and my backs and that is very important to voice has to be warm!

Kentucky said...

Yeah I'm gonna have to second the unopposed thing - it definitely has to be my favorite pre-game ritual, and when done with the right intensity it can feel like an actual game situation, but without the injury risk. It's also a good way to tell if everyone is on the same page, and to get the ball through everyone's hands....

Other than that, my other fave warmup is "Continuity"...I'm not exactly sure if other teams do it outside of the Midwest, but it's basically a continuous line in which you go through game situation against opposition - passing before contact, out of contact, and off the ground immediately after the always really gets me going, and when everyone is doing it correctly, it can be an intimidating drill because there is so much shouting and directing going on.......makes me excited just thinking about it =)

KLK said...

heh your club has to be organized enough first to show up on schedule to have time to warm up! Heh, yet another reason our motley crew should stay DII. But yea when we warm up it's four corners, a bit of lines, and a quick split to forwards and backs. We've done a quick scrimmage/box drill before a game once and my prop stuck a thumb in my eye ("but I was just trying to bind onto you!") and I threw horrible lineouts all day.

Anonymous said...

I remember being a baby rugger and I had a coach who had us full on tackle coming up off the ground under high pressure as a way to get pumped up - it was exhilirating and mos def got me ready to play. However, as I coach now I always think back to that and wonder if I shouldn't make my girls do that now, but I've decided the risk of injury and resultant mental lapse by everyone just isn't worth it. I encourage routines with my players, to help snap their brains on, and I keep the warmup semi-predictable.
--Heidi Whitman