If you go to any football camp in the country, there is a 95% chance that you will see something like this before practice.
Despite all of the scientific evidence telling us that it is not beneficial to perform static stretching before sports activities, coaches just can't seem to help themselves.
At best, the coach believes he is helping you because he is giving you time to "stretch" your muscles.
(I put "stretch" in quotes becomes most athletes just lay there and do nothing.)
|Does he really look like he is getting ready for battle?|
At worst, he does it because it gives him a break before practice.
With the static stretch, you can just have a few seniors stand up front and lead everyone through the motions.
A Personal Q&A:
So what is so bad about the static stretch before practice?
It actually makes you worse at what you are about to do.
It reduces your ability to generate force. As a result, you will be slower and weaker when you are competing in your sport.
Do you think I am crazy?
Since I know you probably do, I have included a few quotes from an article written for the NSCA, titled Influence of Pre-Exercise Stretching on Force Production.
(If you are not a big time thinker, skip past the quote to my summary below).
"... prolonged stretching may inhibit myotatic reflex activity, allowing the muscle-tendon unit to lengthen with
minimal resistance from the muscle and connective tissues. Hence, an inability to generate forces after stretching results from a lack of neural activation and greater muscle compliance, which implies muscle stiffness may be diminished following pre-exercise stretching."
"It has also been found that sprint performance was much slower following passive static stretching . Interestingly, Young and Elliot attributed this to an ineffective eccentric phase during the stretchshortening cycle because of a loss in elastic energy."
(Summary: If you want to play horribly, perform static stretching before your game or practice.)
But won't I get hurt?
You probably have a better chance of getting hurt rounding your lower back like the athletes in the image below.
Luckily, the head coach of the football program I am at is a progressive thinker.
He utilizes a dynamic stretch before lifting, practice, and games.
As a football coach, I must admit that it makes me happy to look across the field during pregame and see this.
I know we have an advantage before the game even started.