Dec 13, 2016
Fun with Warmups

Before an athlete can perform and compete at a high level, they need to warm up their muscles and mind. High knees, lunges, jogging, and stretching are all common ways to prepare the body for a training session or game, but when these exercises become routine they can often fail to get an athlete in a focused state of mind. That is why Boston Celtics Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Bryan Doo is always changing things up.

According to, dodgeball, capture the flag, and other modified versions of playground classics have become a hit among the Celtics players who are happy to embrace a fun and exciting way to warm up. Now entering his 14th season with the team, Doo’s drills on the court and in the weightroom have been praised by former stars like Kevin Garnet and continue to thrive under the leadership of Head Coach Brad Stevens and President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge.

One purpose of this unorthodox approach is to keep players from getting bored. But like any strength and conditioning coach, Doo also wants to make sure that his athletes are both mentally and physically ready to perform.

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“What I try to do is get the players so they’re ready to practice, so Coach doesn’t have to deal with them not being focused,” Doo said. “I might have a plan in my head, but then I might be like, ‘You know what, they’re not listening, let’s do something different.’”

For Doo, keeping things fresh also means being able to improvise. As a father of five who often works with youth athletes, he has become a master of creating new activities on the spot. This not only helps his athletes stay engaged, but makes his job more enjoyable.

“Look at it this way: There’s probably a minimum of like 100 warm-ups per season, right? So you’ve got to keep it fresh. I get bored myself,” said Doo.

The Celtics were recently filmed during one of Doo’s warm-up activities. The starters and reserves faced off in a game where each player tried to snatch a towel out of the waistbands of players on the opposing team. This mixture of capture the flag and flag football is one of many pre-practice activities that have become a hit with the players.

“We go into play mode,” said small forward Jae Crowder. “But we’re still getting after it, just playing a little bit. It’s cool to switch it up because it’s a long season. It’s good to smile a little bit.”

Throughout the course of a long season, changing up routines and keeping things fresh can contribute to sustained success. Not only does playing a game like dodgeball provide a way for players to warm up their muscles while having fun, it also gets them into a competitive mindset.

“I like to get them to compete because I don’t think these guys compete enough before practice,” Doo said. “They have to get into that mindset. It’s hard though, sometimes on certain days, I know I have to talk to some of the [veteran] guys and be like, ‘Are you guys up to this?’”

With so many fun games and activities up his sleeve, it’s no wonder the Celtics players enjoy practicing with Coach Doo.

“It’s nice to change things up, and make guys laugh a little bit,” Crowder said. 

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