Why Is Stretching Important For Athletes?
Flexibility is a topic that is rarely discussed at the youth and high school levels of baseball.
Most people don’t really think about baseball players as being well-conditioned athletes! Being a well-conditioned and trained athlete requires conditioning, strength and flexibility.
Flexibility is important for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few why you should begin a dedicated stretching program today:
Injury Prevention: For whatever reason, especially at the high school level, players completely neglect to stretch at any point before, during or after their workout or weight lifting session.
Unfortunately, most injuries at the lower levels are caused by players being very tight.
A lot of “injuries” in high school are related to the lower back. The lower back is typically the most likely cause of pain in the body because of all of the motion baseball (or any sport really) uses in the lower back.
Most times, however, the real injury is not in the lower back. It is usually related to the tightness of the hamstrings, which connect to the lower back.
There are many moving and connected parts in the body, and neglecting to take care of one part can lead to injuries and pain in other parts.
90% of the players that I have worked with (even into the college level) have lacked the hamstring flexibility to perform at their best and prevent injuries.
Makes It Easier to Hit/Throw: One characteristic that is very hard for a coach to overlook is “stiffness.”
If you look stiff in your swing and/or when you’re throwing, it probably has a lot to do with your flexibility.
If your body cannot twist and contort into the positions necessary to provide the maximal power, your performance will look very hard as well as stiff.
You want to make everything look effortless and easy and flexibility can definitely help lead to that!
Allows You To Make Plays Easier: I didn’t realize how much being tight was hampering my infield play until I actually became flexible!
After working out all winter my senior year on strength and flexibility, the first time I went out to take ground balls, I was able to bend MUCH more easily at my hips to field ground balls normally and it made it even easier to field ground balls on the run.
Flexibility, especially for catchers and infielders, is absolutely CRUCIAL in order to get your hips into the positions they need to be in to make plays!
It’s tough to understand how your body feels and reacts until you are actually flexible.
Once you’ve gained a level of flexibility, your ability to make plays, swing and throw will become much easy. Your body will also be much less injury-prone, allowing your career to have a chance to flourish.
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