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Malcolm Fenton: June Throws Blog

  • Posted: 16.06.2014
  • Author: Malcolm Fenton (GBR)
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Competition Warm-Up

Some questions for you?

Do your athletes know how to warm up for competition, or do they just undertake an abbreviated form of their usual training warm up? How often in the throws do we hear the lament ‘I threw much further in training two days ago’? If so, have you ever considered why? Recently at a national level event, I watched Javelin throwers warming up, watching one thrower take 5 full run up throws in warm up. All the other throwers took at least 3 throws, this after extensive run through’s and javelin ’flicking’. The women’s Shot that day saw similar extensive putting.

In the most extreme, rule conforming case, the athlete may be restricted to two warm up throws. So your athletes need to be conversant in being able to be ready to perform to the very best of their abilities, with but two warm up throws. Both they, and you as the coach, have to formulate a warm up for competition that will allow the athlete to achieve this state. You will have done your athlete(s) a disservice, if they do qualify for a major championship, and they are not prepared to warm up effectively within the known constraints of two throws.

So, in much the same way you guide athletes to better techniques, you also need to teach them how to warm up for competitions. So how is this accomplished and how does it differ from the usual training warm up? Well I can’t actually offer the solution, as each athlete is different. This means that the coach has to formulate, by trial, error and prior knowledge, the warm up that will be most effective for each athlete. This warm up will also have to be fully understood by the athlete, as the coach may not always be there at the competition. Just to further complicate things, the warm up will have to be formulated to take account of call rooms, pens, warm up areas remote from the stadium and perhaps a long wait between each. As a coach it is your responsibility to ensure the athlete has been prepared for each competition thoroughly, especially in this neglected area.

Whilst I said that I cannot provide you with a warm up routine, I can offer advice to assist you to create the optimal warm up for your athletes.

1. In training experiment with warm-up routines to find the one that works with the individual athlete.

2. As you may be restricted to two warm up efforts, introduce this into training and observe how the athlete copes.

3. Linked to 2 above, find which exercises, drills and stretches best compliment two warm up throws.

4. Create a warm up that will generally be able to be used for the majority of competitions. Tailor the warm up to suit known problems at some tracks, or for larger, more controlled meetings.

5. Will your warm up cope with weather extremes?

6. Have a ‘B’ plan warm up, that has also been tried and tested.

7. Use ‘lesser’ meetings to experiment with warm up routines, to ascertain their effectiveness.

So once you’ve sorted out a warm up routine, you need to know the time it takes to complete and fitting it in to competitions. Firstly it is the athlete’s warm up and it should be adhered to. It is easy to get caught up with what other competitors are doing. If you’ve trained for two warm up throws, stick to it and don’t start throwing too early, just because you can. There are no medals for winning the warm up, so don’t leave your best efforts there.

Make your athletes confident in their warm up and be ready to throw far, when it matters.


Malcolm Fenton

Event Group Lead


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Comments (2)

  1. Posted by Barry Williams on 16/06/2014 at 09:14 PM

    I would turn the whole matter on its head and ask why is there any need to have warm up throws.
    This does not mean there are no reasons but we blindly assume we need them without working out exactly why.Having worked that out it may be there better ways of preparing for the first round.
    After all warm ups hardly bring forth good first rounds.
    I , by the way ,only had one warm up and even in some international comps had nil. Not sure it was right for me let alone others . The key ,for me,was the last two throwing sessions .They were my warm ups.
    Just a different perspective.

  2. Posted by Ron Silvester on 17/06/2014 at 01:30 PM

    Absolutely sound advice - and often, not given any thought.

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