Pre-Game Stretching

There is a lot of confusion in the scientific world about the value of pre-game stretching. Some say it helps, others say it is a waste of time. There is even a body of thought which says that pre-game stretches are a possible cause of injury. ....... how?... perhaps over-stretching leading to a temporary loss of co-ordination. Sometimes a muscle tear eg a hamstring does not occur at the limit of the stretch phase of running, rather, it happens inside the normal range .. possibly as a result of an unco-ordinated muscle action. So .. what is the best thing to do?..... get fit, sleep well, dont drink alcohol the night before a game, thoroughly warm up and perform turning and various skills to bring co-ordination to it's peak before the game starts. If you like stretching, stretch. If you dont.. dont. If you have a problem with muscle tears despite a pre-game stretching routine .. drop the stretching part of the routine.

 

Correct Stretching Method

 

1. Stretching, when preceded by active warm-up, improves flexibility

A ‘cold’ muscle is relatively stiff, and if vigorously stretched, may become injured . So warm up before you stretch. Flexibility is generally thought to be important in Australian football injury prevention, because muscles are often stretched beyond normal extensibility, and if they lack elasticity to compensate for this additional stretch, injury may occur . Also, poor flexibility could result in the uncoordinated or awkward movement which cause injury.

 

2. Stretch ... don't bounce

Static stretching is the go .... it refers to moving a joint to near the limits of its range of motion, and holding the stretch for 6-30 seconds. This should be repeated at least twice. This slowly applied tension induces muscle relaxation and enables further stretching. Whatever you do dont bounce at the end of a stretch. This is believed to cause tiny tears.

 

Stretching in Rehabilitation

Stretching is considered an integral part of injury management. 1. Managing the fresh injury ... gentle stretching and maintaining mobility of injured muscles and joints are thought useful in both the early and later phases of injury management by helping maintain flexibility and preventing contracture. 2. Correcting long-term tightness & stiffness (see section on Correcting Bad Mechanics) as a preventative strategy.