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Every volleyball training like any other training in sports usually starts with a warm-up. Depending on the coach, these warm-ups can be very different in length and content. Important to know is that warming up is not only about actually getting muscles to a certain temperature, it’s about injury prevention and getting the athlete’s body and mind ready for the following  performance. While most adult athletes understand the importance of warming up and stretching the body before increasing intensity of the training, for kids and youngsters it can be very boring. This article will provide some examples of warm-up games to start off training with your kids to get their bodies and minds ready for training without them being distracted or bored.

Kids and adolescents usually come from hours of sitting at school and listening to teachers telling them to sit still. Most of the kids are restless when they come to training and just want to move.

Kids and adolescents usually come from hours of sitting at school and listening to teachers telling them what to do, to sit still and learn. Most of the kids, at least in my experience, are restless when they come to training and just want to move. No more sitting and listening. So to start training I prefer the following games to let off some steam and get the kids ready for the following volleyball practice.

Ball in the net – Relay

What you need: Volleyball-net set up, balls

What you get: running, shoulder warm-up, team-work, competition, ball coordination

Age: works for all ages, adjust the distance to the net for younger kids

Depending on how many kids you have, make groups of 3-4. Line them up on the baseline of the court. Each team gets one ball. On your commando the first player throws the ball with both arms trying to aim for the net. Then he runs after his ball to catch it and bring it back to the second player of his team (no throwing back the ball, it has to be carried to the team mate!). Obviously the better the throw the faster the player is back with his ball. Now it’s the second player’s turn to throw the ball in the net. The team which finishes first wins.

First round: throw ball with both arms over the head
Second round: just the right arm
Third round: just the left arm
Fourth round: stand with back to the net and throw ball through your legs
Fifth round: Hit ball with left leg
Sixth round: hit ball with right arm/left arm

Ultimate Frisbee with Volleyball

What you need: ball

What you get: running, shoulder warm-up, team-work, competition, ball coordination

Age: works for all ages

Form two teams. Goal of the game is to pass the ball from one side of the court to the other. Once a player catches a ball he cannot move anymore but has to find a team mate to throw the ball to. The opposite team tries to get in possession of the ball by catching it out of the air. If a team mate stands behind the baseline of the opposite team and catches the ball, the team gets one point and the adversaries get the ball to start their attack. If a ball falls on the floor inbounds in can just be picked up by any player. If it is thrown out of bounds the opposite team gets the ball. Play to 5 or 10 points for victory.

Tip: Make some strict rules: no knocking the ball out of the hands of a player. We don’t want it to get messy…

Tic Tac Toe – Relay

What you need: 4 ropes or 4 antennas, 3 cones in one color and 3 cones in another color

What you get: running, team-work, competition, coordination

Age: works for all ages

Place the ropes or antennas on the opposite court forming a 3×3 grid. Form 2 teams, each team gets a set of 3 same color cones. At the starting signal,first players of both teams run simultaneously to the grid with one cone and place it in one of the nine fields. Then the player runs back to tag the second players of their team. The second player again runs to the grid with a cone and tries to place it strategically to give the next player a chance to score three in a row or prevent the other team to score. When all cones are placed but still nobody wins, every player who comes to the grid can take one of his team’s cones and place it in a different square of the grid. Game continues until one team gets its’ three cones in a row. What is great about this game, is that there is a lot of thinking involved and decisions have to be made under pressure.

Floor Tag

What you need: nothing

What you get: running, stop and go movements, push-ups from the floor, coordination

Age: works for all ages

One player is chosen to be the tagger, one person is the first to get chased. All the other kids lie on the floor anywhere in the court in pairs of two. The more kids you have the bigger the court should be. So the tagger tries to catch the only standing player. If he gets tagged he becomes the new tagger. The chased player can save himself by running to one pair of players and lie down on one side of them. The player lying on the other side has to stand up quick and, ATTENTION, is the new tagger (!). So the tagger fro before has to change direction fast to not get tagged himself. The chased players cannot lie down next to the same pair than the player before, so everybody gets to move.

 

These games are not meant to replace proper joint mobilization and/or preventive strength exercises. They are just a way to let kids blow off some steam, get their head to training and be ready for what follows. Mobilization, dynamic stretching and preventive strengthening exercises should still be on the agenda.


Links

Science for Sports: Warm-ups

Injury prevention in Non-professional Volleyball