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Cooling Down

What to Discover or Recall:

Discover the importance of cooling down after a successful workout.
Learn about heart and respiratory rate recovery.
Find out what should be included in the cooling down period.

Cooling down after exercising not only prevents serious health problems and injuries, but also, prepares players for the next day's practice or game.


Cooling Down. The importance of cooling down after exercise cannot be over-emphasized. Use five (5) minutes of walking or a slow jog to ease the transition between running and resting. A sudden stop can cause dizziness, fainting, cramps, or even more serious consequences. Taper off gradually, and avoid going into a hot room or shower immediately after exercise. One of the worst things you can do is to go into a sauna or steam room. Wait until you have stopped sweating before showering.

Heart Rate Recovery. One of the most important benefits of conditioning is the ability for the heart to recover during exercise. Players in top physical condition will recover much faster than players out of shape. This is a real advantage in athletic competition.

To determine your heart rate: take carotid pulse (neck) for 10 seconds and multiply by 6. Five minutes after exercising, your heart rate should be below 120, and ten minutes after exercising it should be below 100.

If 5 minutes after exercising your heart rate is above 120: the exercise is too severe for a person in your condition. Train at a slower rate for a longer period of time.

If 10 minutes after excercising, if your heart rate is above 100 let up on your exercise program.

CAUTION: Always cool down after exercising. Do not ever go to the shower until your heart rate is below 100.

Respiration Rate Recovery. Normal respiration rate is 12 to 16 times per minute. If you respiration is above 16 times per minute or you are still short of breath after ten minutes, the exercise is too strenuous.

Exercise Regulary. After absence or injury, be patient and do not try to catch up over night. Stay within your tolerance.

Basic Stretching. The cooling down period should conclude with various stretching exercises. This is especially true after a strenuous work out. By stretching after practice, it actually prepares players for the next day's workout by lessening the tightness and stiffness build up that would otherwise occur. When stretching be sure to avoid any bouncing.

Free Throws. The cooling down period is an excellent time to practice free throw shooting. Successfully shooting free throws, when tired, is vital to end of game situations.

End of Practice Free Throw Drill: Make two consecutive free throws at a basket and then rotate clockwise to the next basket. This combines the free throw shooting and cooling down walking. It will also provide players with the mental confidence in their ability to make two consecutive free throws in a game when tired.

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