Unsure of what you did to feel great last game? Just generally unsure of what to do so you feel great? Here's 4 steps to building your own pregame routine with some guidance from Dan and Jess of Win Your Warm Up.
The first step in your warm-up is foam rolling or soft tissue work. You will hear these called Release Exercises throughout Win Your Warm Up. Release exercises help 'shut off' or decrease tone in a muscle that's preventing others from functioning properly. Think of muscle tone like a light bulb on a dimmer switch. Different amounts of light are appropriate at different times. Athletes are typically 'high tone' with the dimmer switch turned way up. Foam roll at the beginning of your warm up (here's an example). You will immediately move and feel better.
Resets further turn the dimmer switch up or down on specific muscles. Use Resets after Release exercises to stack their benefits. Resets improve your body position and mobility by challenging you to breathe through and control a variety of positions. The combination of improved mobility and learning to control new positions helps you move well with all the right muscles involved (here's an example). You gain a greater ability to do the athletic things you want to do.
Readiness exercises are what most athletes think of when they hear 'warm-up.' With the benefits of Release and Reset drills behind you, Readiness exercises prime you to dominate your workout, practice, or game. These drills should do three things: 1.) use and challenge the range of motion you've opened up, 2.) reinforce good movement patterns 3.) prepare you more specifically for what you're about to do. You take advantage of all the benefits you’ve unlocked and begin putting them to use in a more specific way (here's an example).
Mental skills practice is built into every warm-up drill, so you're physically and mentally ready to go. Separating the mental and physical game doesn't make sense - why practice two things that work together at totally different times? In the written instructions for each Release, Reset, and Readiness exercise, you’re given strategies to train your mental game while you do the drill. As you progress through Win Your Warm Up, you’ll also get Mental Game Drills to use around training and competitions.