Building a Base for Athletic Success: Flexibility
The first of the three parts of the base to athletic success is flexibility. It has become a little bit of a joke in Athlete Academy because literally every male participant I have had join the program has tight hamstrings. The hips, in general, are tight. This makes sense for a number of reasons - during this age is when growth spurts begin to happen, which will make flexibility more challenging. The other reason is that kids sit in school all day and are not getting out and playing as much anymore. This plays a vital role in athletics for a few different reasons, but the two I am going to focus on are explosiveness and injury prevention.
In terms of explosive ability, it can be thought of as the properties of a rubber band - the more a rubber band can stretch the faster it snaps back. The same is true of muscle. Explosive movements in sports are essentially a series of loading (stretching the rubber band) and exploding (the recoil of the rubber band after being stretched). The more you are able to load, the more force you can create when you recoil. There is more to it but that is the best place to start.
The second major role is injury prevention. Let’s take the same example from above, the rubber band - what happens when you stretch a rubber band beyond how far its supposed to stretch? It breaks! Just like a rubber band, muscle has a certain amount of stretch before it’s just to much and injury occurs. This is why it is important to stay flexible. The more flexible you are, the greater distance you can stretch before causing injury.
The moral of the story is stay flexible, or get flexible, and it will greatly improve your performance. Stay tuned for my next post in the Building a Base series talking about mobility!