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Athletic fitness for kids by Scott Lancaster, Radu Teodorescu

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See page 23 for a suggested obstacle course warm-up. After warming up the large muscles, athletes in any sport should also do a sport-specific warm-up. This warm-up, though often overlooked, is vital to an athlete’s performance. If an athlete begins a training session or competition by immediately executing skills and techniques without first introducing the body to the movements that make up the skill or technique, risk of injury increases and overall movement potential is compromised. During the sport-specific warm-up, athletes prepare for a game or practice by replicating the movements they’ll be performing on the field.

For example, during a baseball warm-up, outfielders should perform a routine that mimics all the movements that might occur in the outfield. The first step and pivot to turn for a fly ball over the head (to both the left and right as well as straight back) should be first walked through, then jogged, and then run at both half- and full speed. These drills should be done first without a ball and then with a ball. Then athletes should progress to repeating all drills and adding a throw to finish the play.

Gain coordination  41 Video games might also help athletes develop eye–hand coordination. Studies by James Rosser of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in New York have shown that surgeons who prepped for surgical drills by first playing video games for 20 minutes performed the drills 20 minutes faster and with fewer errors than those who did not play the video games. ) Playing video games sharpens coordination, reaction time, and visual skills—all essential elements that are incorporated into the drills in this chapter.

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