My dad took me to an Atlanta Braves game as a kid. We arrived really early. As we sat in our seats my dad explained to me why we arrived so early. He wanted me to watch the teams warm up and to appreciate the routine they go through to take care of their bodies before a game.
Some may ask why is it so important for my kid to warm up? Well there are clear benefits for your young athlete now and especially later.
- Teaching young athletes good habits will benefit them as they get older and the importance of warming up becomes critical to their performance.
- Most injuries to arms and to legs can be prevented by proper stretching and warming up. This is especially true if you play in a part the country that starts baseball season in cold conditions.
- Stretching and warming up also provides another time for teamwork and interaction. Most teams might see each other twice a week, three times at the most. Building a sense of team is a tough thing for a coach during this time. Working together on stretches and warming up is another time set aside to build teamwork and unity.
Others might argue that stretching and warming up does not really prevent injury or improve performance. There are some studies that actually make this argument quite convincingly. Some think that static stretching and warming up actually hinders performance and does not prevent any more injuries.
I encourage you as a parent to read the research for both arguments and even consult your pediatrician and make what you think is the best decision for your child.