A Primer on Stretching for Adolescent Athletes

Family and Kids, Baseball, Strength and Conditioning

The importance of stretching in an athletic program cannot be overemphasized. While this statement is applicable to all athletes, stretching is often not incorporated into the strength and conditioning programs of adolescent athletics. Whether due to lack of time, not understanding the importance of stretching as related to sports performance and injury prevention, or having limited knowledge of how to implement a stretching program, the effect of not stretching adolescents before and after athletic activity is detrimental to the developing athlete.


The Growing Athlete


Because young athletes are still growing, they are at greater risk for sports injuries than adults. Generally, the growth of adolescents peaks at ages ten to twelve for females and at ages ten to fourteen for males. Bone growth can occur rapidly during this time, but tendons and ligamentous structures may not match the growth rate of the bone, often lagging behind and leading to tightening of the muscles, and subsequently a significant decrease in flexibility.


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