Winning Open Warm-Ups at Gymnastics Meets

One of the signs of a very well coached team is an effective, well-planned and executed team warm-up. With individual gymnastics performances only taking a few minutes total, warm-ups are a big part of the physical activity that takes place at a meet. And while “winning” warm-ups does not result in any medals, it can be a satisfying start to a meet.

Many teams either have no organized warm-up or they copy all or part of the National team warm-up. One of those choices is an indication of lack of organization and the other a lack of originality. Your warm-up should reflect your team, your gym, your coaching and your training.

Coaches need to first determine and plan what their goals are in warm-ups. Next, create a spectacular choreographed warm-up routine for the open warm-up before the meet. You may need to create one that uses both the full floor exercise mat and one that covers only a part of the mat for more crowded meets.

A spectacular choreographed warm-up routine can cause other teams to be distracted and watch instead of warming up and preparing themselves. If sufficiently spectacular, it can intimidate the opposition. Not having a professional appearing routine may put you in the situation of attracting a lot of attention but performing poorly. This is the exact opposite of what you are trying to do.

The routine should include normal warm-up exercises, dance and acrobatic elements. It could be choreographed to music. If the meet is large enough and meet officials control the sound system, a boom box system might have to be used to play the music.

You can create more than one routine. You could set two or three routines to songs. You could have different routines for different levels or you could have one general team routine and a separate different routine for each level.

All the necessary warm-up exercises do not have to be included in the routines. Include only those that fit smoothly into the choreography and are impressive. Other warm-up exercises can be done in a more traditional manner.

Co-ordinated partner stretching exercises may be done during open warm-ups after the routine. They are impressive if your team is sufficiently trained and flexible. Again highlighting and drawing attention to your team if they are not flexible is not the idea you are going for. You don’t want to attract more attention to yourselves if you are not prepared to impress everyone.

Don’t forget to arrange your team in a pattern even while doing partner exercises – a circle, V-shape, U-shape, or a line for maximum visual effect. The visual effect of your well-planned and executed warm-up, even if not intimidating, will give the image of a well-coached team. Winning warm-ups can be a great start to winning the meet.

Because you cannot always predict the open warm-up set-up at meets (like, for example, the floor may be extremely crowded and there is not room for your normal planned warm-up, you should train your gymnasts to do the warm-up in a variety of ways.

Many coaches have a fantasy of coming into a meet and dazzling all of the competition and psyching out all of the rest of the competition. And while there are more important team and individual goals, if choreographing meet warm-ups fits into the overall plan, why not indulge and enjoy.

Such an organized and choreographed team warm-up can double as the part of an exhibition or other gymnastics show, as well. If it is good enough to impress or intimidate another team, it will certainly dazzle and impress ordinary spectators.

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