Winning Youth Football

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Static Versus Dynamic Stretching in Youth Football

Back in the day when you did your warm-up and stretching routine prior to practice your stretching consisted of a stationary routine where you stretched your major muscle groups by leaning, bending, and twisting your body, in a slow controlled  movement to slowly stretch and warm-up each of your major muscle groups. Probably, the team lined up in rows and in your individual spot you did your warm-up. Probably, the team would count out aloud for each individual stretch.

Sound familiar? This type of stretching would be referred to as static stretching and is an old school way of warming up. Simple but effective!

During my youth football coaching days I grew to hate this routine. I found that at the youth football level it was time consuming, became social time, had no flow, and was overall just plain boring. With practice time at a premium I decided to find a way to do change this warm-up. I wanted something that was going to be just as effective, but have more flow, and more importantly, take up the same amount of time consistently each practice.

So curiosity got to me and I decided to find a better way. Of course I started with researching the internet and after endless searching I finally stumbled across dynamic stretching. Now dynamic stretching is a series of agilities done at a controlled pace that is designed to stretch all of your major muscle groups, get the blood flowing through the body, has good flow, limits the fooling around and social time,and accomplishes the same thing as static stretching.

Dynamic stretching is basically agility drills done in a controlled fashion that targets specific muscles. Some of these agilties would be high knees, push-offs, lateral shuffles, carioca, and back-peddles. Each agility would require the football player to conduct each agility for about 15-20 yards at least twice and then do the next agility. When the players are done their dynamic stretching I usually lead them into their conditioning by doing light sprints and slowly ease them into full sprints. I found it to be a much more effective and efficient way to warm-up the team.