An early post I wrote was a rant against some “traditional” warm-up methods employed by coaches and players. That article – Are your warm-ups wasting valuable time? – is one of the most frequently visited on the site. One activity is throwing the ball back and forth and hitting into the floor to loosen up the shoulder. I don’t like it for reasons I mentioned in that prior post. In particular, it seems like a lost opportunity to get in additional ball contacts.
With that as a backdrop, you can imagine how much I enjoyed it when a professional coach I visited with immediately stopped his players from doing that stand-by warm-up routine. It happened during one of their initial training sessions. Players were instructed to warm-up their shoulders. As soon as he saw them start the throw/hit thing, though, he stopped it, forcefully. He told them in no uncertain terms that what they were doing was a waste of time and opportunity. Instead, they should do a hit and dig-to-self routine.
You have no idea how happy this made me. It proved I’m not some crazy lone voice on the subject. There are at least two of us! Importantly, it also let me go back to my university players (the men in particular) and say “This is what the pros do.” 🙂
On a related subject, I saw a variation on this idea where one player hits and the other catches. I am not a fan of this. The coach encouraged the catching players to move and position themselves as if they were digging. The reality, though, is that catching and rebounding/redirecting are very different skills.