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Noni Kendall

Winning Ways:
Bend Before You Break

Wednesday, October 14, 1998

By Gregory "Graig" White
SJSports Physical Fitness Advisor

As I read article after article on strength and conditioning for high school student-athletes, I see an alarming trend. Flexibility is not being stressed like I would hope. If utilized properly, "flex time" could be quite beneficial to the overall practice.

Noni Kendall

The main purpose for flexibility exercises is to help prevent injuries. Stretching works to prevent strains and tears in muscles and it also aids in the prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness. Stretching, when done correctly, will enhance the muscles range of motion. Without the use of the exercises, speed may be compromised, and as any athlete will tell you, "speed kills."

It has been my pleasure to work with two great flexibility coaches, Pura Perez and Nancy Pope. It was their job to make sure that each stretch was done properly. By properly, I mean slow, even movements, then held for a minimum of 30 seconds. This technique is called static stretching. While observing, our flex coach reinforces the key aspects of the day's practice. During this phase, our athletes are encouraged to be quiet, concentrate on the muscle being stretched, and take deep breaths. This philosophy will probably be met with a little resistance at first, but stick with it and you will find that your athlete's concentration skills will improve. Another benefit of stressing the stretching program is that you will find that the strength index of your athletes will improve. By improving your range of motion, the muscle ability to create force will grow.

Noni Kendall

Our flexibility protocol is not secret nor is it new. The stretches we use are available to everyone. There are plenty of great publications that will just about serve the needs of all athletes. Our mission is to create athletes with supreme flexibility in the lower body for greater range of motion, which in turn creates faster, stronger athletes. In the future, when you evaluate your program, look at how greater flexibility could enhance the performance of your student-athletes.

Photos by Art Redd

Special Thanks to Noni Kendall and Brandy Meacham for allowing us to photograph their training session with Graig

Brandy Meacham Brandy Meacham Brandy Meacham Brandy Meacham Brandy Meacham Brandy Meacham

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For previous Winning Ways, visit Graig's Archives

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