Flexibility is very important in sports


There are many elements that go into making a good athlete. They have to be strong, have good endurance and determination. One thing that isn’t talked about as much is flexibility. Flexibility allows players to have a larger range of motion when they play and prevents injuries. There are many types of flexibility, but the main two are static and dynamic. Static flexibility is being able to hold a stretching position for 10-30 seconds. Think of reaching for your toes. Dynamic flexibility is the ability to move your muscles through a full range of motion. Dynamic flexibility is more significant in sports than static flexibility is.
Jordan Wolf, one of the trainers at North, said his best advice for preventing injury is, “just a 15 minute dynamic warm-up, even if you don’t have time to stretch. A dynamic warm-up is probably better than just static stretching. Just 15 minutes can prevent a lot of injuries.”
Strength and flexibility must be equal to create a well-rounded athlete. If you are strong, but not as flexible, you will have a higher possibility of getting an injury while playing. A commonly used analogy is a rubber band. If you stretch a rubber band that isn’t already stretched out it will snap. However, if you stretch a rubber band that is already stretched out it will continue to stretch. This is the same with your muscles, if you try to exercise without stretching before, it can lead to tears in your muscles. The stress put on your muscles while exercising and not properly stretched can cause joint and movement issues.
If you don’t take the time to stretch before a game or even practice you could be out for the rest of the season.
Wolf said, “Depending on the part of the body it [a pulled muscle] can take anywhere from a week to six weeks to heal.”
Not being able to participate for almost two months with an injury that is easily preventable is something no one wants to happen. Even though pulled and overstretched muscles are easily preventable they are also very common.
Wolf said, “I would say probably 5/10 that it could be related to not properly warming up and stretching.”
How do you stretch properly then? When stretching, hold each position for 30-60 seconds. Remember to breathe normally when stretching. Don’t bounce while stretching. Bouncing up and down while trying to stretch can lead to the muscle actually tightening. Don’t strive for pain when you stretch. You should feel a tightness when you stretch, but not pain. If it hurts really bad to hold one position then try to back off or find a modification of that stretch. Focus on major muscles groups like quads, hamstrings, arms and even hips. To see change in your flexibility and range of motion you have to keep up with stretching. Before and after workouts are a great time to stretch your muscles.
For any athlete either here at North and even professionals stretching is one of the easiest ways to prevent injury. So even if you are late for practice or don’t want to take the time to stretch, know that it is an important part of any sport.You don’t want to find yourself with an injury that could stop you from doing what you love. So take a few minutes to warm up your body before you join the game. You’ll thank yourself for it later.