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Sep 13

4 Cures for the Boring Warm-up

Photo by Mr. Juninho http://www.flickr.com/photos/juanmaiz/

Do you have those five or six people who stand in the back
during warm-ups, pretending they are doing everything with the rest of the
group? Does everyone look bored during warm-ups, and use it as a time to catch
up on the latest gossip? Do you have a group warm-up at all?

Well, don’t scrap the idea. I honestly and truly think that
the group warm-up is worth keeping. It gets everyone’s head in the game, giving
them a minute to get the blood flowing and focus on the upcoming practice, it
acts as a team bonder, getting everyone doing the same thing all together,
using the right music can up the enthusiasm level immensely, and of course, you
can make sure that everyone is at least moderately prepared for the physical
aspect of practice.
Really, give it a shot.
Here are a couple of ideas that will keep your warm up
engaging:

1 – The Right Music

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again- a little bit of
funk, goes a long way. Figure out what your squad likes. If it’s country, put a
little Taylor Swift on for your warm up, if we’re into retro, maybe a little
Michael Jackson, or maybe you just pick what is at the top of the charts this
week. I remember warming up to Selena Gomez’s “Naturally” for an entire month
after it came out. They just kept asking for it. Whatever song you choose, just
make sure it has a good beat. Unfortunately, popular stuff like Finger Eleven’s
“Paralyzer” in its natural state, doesn’t make for a good warm-up, it’s just
too slow. But don’t be discouraged, dance remixes of chart topping songs are
becoming more and more popular and therefore more and more available, and you
can almost always find a clean version of a remixed song, so you don’t have to
worry about anyone objecting to your choice of music on moral grounds.

There are also, of course, CD’s of mixes and songs put
together specifically for cheerleading, and those can be great, too, I have
just found that gathering songs on an individual basis gives me a better
variety.

2 – Get the squad involved
Getting the squad involved is a great way of not only making
everyone more inclined to pay attention and participate in warm-ups, but it
makes it far more interesting (not to mention easier on the coaches and
captains). Let someone else lead the warm-up once a week or once every other
week, depending on how often you practice. Obviously, be very clear with them
about parameters, time constraints, etc., but give them artistic license.
Getting the squad involved is also a great way to incorporate
more fun and in-demand music, as mentioned in the previous bullet. Have them
give you cd’s, send you MP3’s, or bring in their iPods. You will of course have
to screen their song selection first if the practice is open to the public or
if the squad is underage, but it will save you time, and money, not having to
collect all the music yourself.
Note – you know those five or six people who always stand in
the back during warm-ups, talking and pretending to do everything with the rest
of the team? They are the first on the list for the guest warm-up leader!

3 – Mix up the moves

Yeah, yeah, jumping jacks, run in place, blah blah blah. It
can get a little boring, and if it’s not fun, you’re probably not doing it full
out.
Mix it up a little. Throw in a Cha-Cha, every once in a
while, a runway walk with a fashion model turn, or take a group fitness class
and incorporate one move that you thought was super fun. Encourage people to
get really into having fun with the warm-up, and they will be having so much
fun, they won’t even realize they are doing what they are “supposed” to be
doing.
Even better, if you have one of your squad members do a
guest warm-up once a week, start stealing the fun moves from their warm-up
routines. It will mix it up for everyone, and the squad will feel like they are
contributing.

4- The Wild Card
There are always going to be those random moments where you
just don’t know what to do with your squad. You find yourself with some
downtime, and either you have to stay warm while you’re waiting for your turn
to perform, or you have to warm up again after a long break, or you just have
to keep their attention while you’re in limbo. Times when you need something to
get the blood flowing, get them re-engaged in the group, maybe keep them
entertained, or even just loosen them up. Well, call me crazy, but few things
do all of that better than a good old fashioned game of tag.
Seriously. Don’t give me that look, this works.
Tag, red rover, relay races, all of those are great for
getting them up and moving, and having fun with one another. Think of your
favorites, and always have some kind of wild card hidden in your back pocket
for when a normal warm-up just won’t do.

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