Flexibility is the measure of the range of motion around a joint or series of joints. Flexibility can be limited by the joints physical structure, including bone, connective tissue or muscle.

It is important to include flexibility training as part of your players’ regular training. Improved flexibility can enhance performance in aerobic training and muscular conditioning as well as in sport. There is scientific evidence that the incidence of injury decreases when players include flexibility sessions into their training because of their enhanced ability to execute movement skills through a wider range of motion. The only exception to this would be when there is an excessive or unstable range of motion, which may increase the likelihood of injury.

Once the player’s training is finished, they can focus on their body’s range of motion across a number of joints to ensure it returns to what it was prior to the session. This is an excellent time for flexibility training because the muscles are warm and pliable, allowing them to stretch farther.

Following are some of the major benefits of flexibility training:

  • Reduces the risk of injury during exercise and daily activities because muscles are more pliable.
  • Improves performance of everyday activities as well as performance in exercise and sport.

Flexibility work can be classified into the following types of stretches;

Static Stretches

Is when a stretch is held in a challenging but comfortable position at the end of range of the muscle for a period of time. The stretch is usually held for somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds. Static stretching is the most common form of stretching found in general fitness and is considered safe and effective for improving overall flexibility.

When done properly, static stretching slightly lessens the sensitivity of tension receptors, which allows the muscle to relax and to be stretched to greater length.

Where static stretching is done sitting or lying on the floor, athletes may consider using a towel or a mat to ensure that the muscles do not cool-down too quickly.

Dynamic Stretches

Is a form of stretching that utilizes sport specific movement patterns and uses movement in an effort to allow the muscle to extend its range of motion not exceeding one’s static-passive stretching ability.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

Combines the alternating of contraction and relaxation of both the agonist and antagonist muscles. For example, pushing down with the leg (which causes the hamstring to contract) and then relaxing and lifting the leg (to stretch the hamstring). This type of action causes the nervous system to stop contracting the muscle targeted to extend its range of motion.