by Lisa Berman, TEAM USA, St. Louis, MO
Jan 17, 2017
This is my fifth year coaching a stacking club in the evenings at Concordia Turners where I run three sanctioned competitions per year. My club format always starts with a 15-20 minute warm up which is assigned by me, their coach. In my opinion, speed should never be the primary focus of the warm up. I stress attention on technique and for stackers to understand their own style. For instance, some beginning stackers are not using the technique of down stacking the last 3-stack of the 3-3-3 or 3-6-3 with one hand and are ready to make a transition to this style. However, most have done so many of those down stacks with 2 hands that it is part of their muscle memory. Warm up is a perfect time to retrain their brain and body to use this faster technique of down stacking just that last stack with one hand, now that they have shown mastery of using 2 hands on all other stacks. Another stacker might need to improve the smoothness of down stacking the 10-stack during the Cycle while another might be working on a faster up stack of the 6-stack. Warm ups are a great time for a stacker to focus on any area of their stacking where making a change will improve their performance so that when they speed up during the rest of practice, they can continue to focus on this area for improvement.
Many stackers I have seen go to the table and immediately try to stack as fast as they can. Most of these first stacks include fumbles. Fumbling is an inevitable part of sport stacking, but avoiding fumbles is important in building confidence as a stacker. It is this confidence that stackers need to perform well in competition. So, a warm up that focuses on technique and consistency, not speed, will help build this confidence and make practice more productive. One way of making stackers really focus on technique rather than speed is to not allow them to have a timer until warm up is over. You can see my favorite warm up, the 1-2-3-4-5, on the Coaches’ Corner.