What's important when warming up is to warm up. Literally. You need to raise the core temperature. Soft tissues like ligaments and tendons are more pliable when they are warm and being more pliable makes them more resilient against injury.
I suggest Googling "dynamic warmup" and read some of the many "hits" the search returns. You will find articles that discuss warming up versus stretching.
I have my players do a dynamic warm-up. Below is the routine. Note that it integrates some strength and flexibility work into our warm-ups.
A dynamic warm up routine
- Jog forward/jog backward (soft knees, heads stay level)
- Skip forward/skip backward (soft knees, heads stay level)
- Karaoke left/karaoke right (arms up, shoulders twist opposite the hips)
- Walking lunges forward/walking lunges backward (arms up, shoulders twist opposite the hips)
- Side lunges left/side lunges right
- Shoulder twists (feet together, hands on hips, shoulders twist left/right, hips stay still)
- Bridges (hold for 2-3 minutes)
- Arm circles (small circles forward/backward, large circles forward/backward, 3 hand positions each)
- Side saws/front saws (3 hand positions each)
- Palm prayer presses (move rapidly left/right, elbows swim forward/backward, hands rotate up/down, hands wave left/right)
- Fingertip prayer presses (move rapidly left/right, elbows swim forward/backward, hands rotate up/down, hands wave left/right)
- Reverse palm presses (palms together behind back, press hard and hold)
- Forearm presses (forearms and palms together in front of body, fingers toward sky, press and hold, move up and down through range of motion while pressing, press pinky finger as hard as can, then ring, middle, index, and thumb successively)
- Arm box presses (right arm out to side and bent forward 90 degrees, left arm extended forward and bent right at 90 degrees to form box with arms, left hand on top of right hand, press together and hold - 3 hand positions, then repeat with left hand underneath and right hand on top - 3 hand positions, then repeat on other side.
We sometimes do other things for some variety including elastic tubing work.
I coach a 15u travel team. We limit our practices to 2 hours each. The above routine, I feel, gives the kids a good warm-up and lets them work on some stength and flexibility at the same time. We normally get through the routine in about 20-25 minutes.
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