Flexibility is so important for young athletes.
Not only does it make them a better athlete (for example, good hamstring flexibility can help young athletes wind their leg back to deliver a powerful kick to a soccer ball), but flexibility is also crucial for those going through growth spurts (making muscles more resistant to injury).
The Importance of Flexibility for Young Athletes
As children’s athletics become more and more competitive, they’re starting to train and condition at earlier and earlier. While sports and exercise are extremely important for kids, it is essential to make sure these young athletes receive safe, proper instruction, including recovery, to prevent injuries and ensure proper form and mechanics for precious growing bodies.
Give these tips a try.
Flexibility Tips for Young Athletes
- Before a workout – Warming up is essential to do before a workout. Dynamic stretching will help to prepare the muscles that will be used in the sport/activity, allowing for full range of motion of the joints.
- After a workout – Now is the time to use more static (still) flexibility exercises to slow the heart rate and relax the muscles.
- During the day or before bed – Before bed is a good time to take five minutes for static stretching. It not only allows the child to unwind and relax, but establishes a good habit to fit in stretching each day.
A few key flexibility reminders for young athletes:
- Stop if it hurts.
- Hold each stretch for at least 20 seconds.
- Remember to breathe.
- Stretching should be a part of their daily routine, a minimum of at least 3 days a week.
Try it at home:
- Encourage your young athlete to keep a workout journal and include the tracking of flexibility.
- Challenge your child to stretch during 5 commercials if/when they’re watching TV.
- Stretch with your child; they’ll be more likely to stretch if you do it, too. (Plus it’ll be good for you)!