Todd Beane

Legal Alien Advice: Stop Warming Up

Todd Beane
Legal Alien Advice: Stop Warming Up

“Do or not do, there is not try.” – Yoda

I have a long list of things I would get rid of in youth development.  Why not start at the beginning. 

Eliminate your warm-up. 

There I said it and now will duck and take cover while every FA licensing course and physical coach in the world hunts me down.

It drives me crazy to see youth coaches waste 25 minutes of a training conducting all sorts of senseless activities in the name of “warming up.” I have seen it all. And to be honest, I have myself wasted too many hours of my players’ time wasting time. Forgive my sins. 

Just get to it. 

The issue here is that from the perspective of the learner (remember them?) the very phrase “warm-up” implies that training will start after those 25 minutes of rambling about while the coach sets up the cones to conduct the “real” part of training. The brain is off and the body does whatever the coach may bark out.

Multiply 25 minutes x 3 trainings per week x 36 weeks and you end up wasting 2700 minutes of talent development time per season. Forty-five hours in one season x 10 development seasons from 8 to 18 years old and you end up with 450 hours wasted. That is a lot of development time.

Might that time be better spent doing - not preparing to do? 

I think so.

Start training from minute one and demand that the players be physically and mentally engaged. Fire up the cognitive processing while you develop critical competencies. 

How?

May I suggest working immediately with a combination of rondos and movement exercises that work on mobility, agility and duel force. Not rondos like too many youth coaches run them – as a disjointed and frivolous distraction. I mean rondos that reinforce not only skill development, but also an understanding of position play and the system of play you espouse. Rondos of maximum concentration can yield remarkable results. Rondos that lead into position play activities coherently. Imagine a player recognizing patterns from minute one of every training.  Imagine him seeing space in a manner that will help in every minute of the weekend match and every weekend match for the rest of his football life. 

“There is no “warm-up.” You train or do not train.” – Yoda Disciple (me) 

Maybe I am playing with semantics. 

Semantics: the study of linguistic development by classifying examining changes in form and meaning. 

I like that concept now that I finally looked it up. What if my expertise was an almost identical definition with a slight adaptation? 

Football Semantics: the study of (talent) development by classifying and examining changes in form and meaning. 

Let’s go one step further while we are on a rambling road through my silly synapses. What if my players were asked during every moment of my training “to classify and examine changes in form and meaning.” That is exactly what I want in fact.  That is the definition of an intelligent footballer. As form changes so does the meaning and consequently so does the interpretation of the relationships before us. 

I guess if I play football or play with semantics, I better not “warm-up”. I should just get to the task of being completely focused as I execute the actions of a dynamic training plan. 

So, please feel free to use those 450 hours anyway you like. When you are done “warming-up” please come join us while we train. 

Yoda was a brilliant, albeit diminutive alien, no?