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LTAD - a critique
Demands of the game
Profile of players
Functional screening
Resistance training
Speed and agility training
Integrated game conditioning

Corrective exercise strategies

Executing the stretch

There are four stages in ensuring that the player gets value from each stretch.

1. Position

Ask the player to get into the stretching position and instruct them on correct alignment through the joint to be stretched and within the body as a whole. For example, during the single leg gastrocnemius stretch, ensure that the stretched calf is parallel to the non-stretched support leg. This will ensure that the alignment of the calf to the foot and toes is correct and that the pelvis is orientated fully in the frontal plane.

2. Zero tension

Then ask the player to find ‘zero tension’ within the muscle to be stretched. Zero tension is where no obvious tension is being noted by the player in the target muscle group.

3. First awareness

From this zero tension position, the player can now start the active stretch. Actively encourage the player to ease into a slight stretch or ask them to find the ‘first awareness’ of a stretch. Ask them to hold this light or micro stretch for 10 seconds.

4. Gradual progression and exhalation

Next, ask them to gradually increase the stretch while following the key postural positions indicated. Then ask them to ease gradually into a greater stretch while breathing out. Finally, hold this new ROM or stretched position for approximately 10 seconds. Typically, each stretch may be completed over a 20-30 second duration and repeated 1 to 4 times depending on the needs of the player.

It is important to facilitate the stretch and not to fight the stretch. What we are aiming to do is to gradually train the tight muscle to become normal in length. By using the active stretching method, we are confident that we will achieve good success.