Often overlooked as an area of football development, flexibility is essential to efficient performance for most players. Stretching exercises as part of the warm-up and cool down will increase the immediate flexibility of the muscles and joints (i.e. a short term adaptation), prepare muscle fibres for the coming activity, and will contribute to improved athletic performance. For muscles to attain full power they must be ‘optimally’ stretched. Similarly, ligaments and tendons must have a certain length to allow a joint to move through its full range of motion and function efficiently.
Players should stretch regularly to:
In a dynamic stretch the body never holds a static position; it is always in constant but slow motion. It is the ideal method for warm-up stretching. Lunge walk: Step out with one leg bend both knees and gently lower into a lunge keeping the back upright. Both knees should bend to 90 degrees. Drive up with the back leg contracting the core for power and balance, hold momentarily in an upright position to control the descent into the next lunge on the opposite leg. Cover up to 10m and walk back. This is a strenuous activity, do not try to do too many especially when warming up.
Involves stretching to the furthest endurable position of the muscle length with no pain then holding the position for 10 seconds to 3 minutes. Triceps: Point one arm down the middle of the back and pull back on the elbow with the other, try to keep the head up. Feel the stretch in the tricep of the arm behind the head.