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Warming up for hitting sports!

Published: November 16, 2021

Warming up is such an important part of sport, and many recreational athletes do this when it comes to sports involving running, jumping and throwing. But what about a warm up for hitting or striking, as we see in golf, cricket and hockey? Most commonly players will hit the nets to get the feel of hitting the ball and to warm up the muscles using the movement that they will be required to do during the game. This is definitely important, but how can we make performance better and give ourselves an edge? Of course with cricket, there also needs to be a separate warm up for running and the other aspects of the game, but here we will look at hitting. The following has been summarised from information presented by the Titleist Performance Institute.

Static stretches (where you hold a muscle in a lengthened position for a sustained period of time) are generally favoured by many recreational athletes, however these stretches reduce strength and power immediately and up to an hour after the stretch. On the other hand, dynamic stretches (where you move the joint through range without holding at the position of stretch) can improve power and strength even up to 24 hours post stretching.

Dynamic Stretching includes:

  • 1. Overhead squats (holding bat/racquet or club) over head
  • 2. Clock lunges (taking foot to the numbers of the clock) 
  • 3. Open and close the gate

Then it is important to use a theraband to get muscle activation and has been proven to increase club head speed, ball speed and distance significantly in golfers which reduces the risk of injury.           

  • Shoulderblade retraction - Pulling a band apart for 30 seconds while maintaining good posture
  • Lunge and Rotate - A backward lunge away from the resistance and turning over the front knee. Complete 1 set of 6 reps each side
  • Stomp and Rotate - Foot stomping with resistance band around the legs and band between the hands rotating into backswing and follow through. Continue stomping for 30 seconds
  • Speed Skater - Place band around legs, keep torso tall, skate back and out to side with alternate legs. Use front leg to squat down slightly and return to tall standing position after each rep. Complete 1 set of 6 reps each side.
  • Crab Walk - Place band around legs, stand tall and tuck elbows to side, trying not to push chest out. Side step, keeping the feet at a minimum distance of should width apart. Complete 20 steps in each direction.

 

       

Even though this research was done in a golfing population, the similarities in hitting and striking a ball in golf, cricket and hockey will mean that similar muscle activation will occur with each technique. If you could hit the ball further, with less effort, then the risk of injury due to fatigue will reduce. Similarly, this type of training will reduce the risk of overuse injuries that may occur from hitting too many balls in practice or warm ups.

Despite this, if you have poor body mechanics in the swing due to a physical limitation, weakness or poor technique, you may not be able to hit the ball straight or will distance and the risk of injury will remain high. It is therefore important that you get examined by a physiotherapist or an accredited coach to help you further. If you did want a FREE assessment to discuss physical limitations and weaknesses, or help with selecting an appropriate coach, please give us a call on 9580 1985 and we would love to help steer your game in the right direction.