Chris Blake gives answer some common questions about flexibility training for young athletes
What is the difference between Flexibility and Mobility?
Flexibility can have two definitions:
1.) The ability of muscle to lengthen during passive movements.
2.) Range of motion about a joint and surrounding musculature during passive movements.
Mobility can also have two ways of being defined. The main definition is the state of being in motion. But this state of motion can be looked at within certain joints (subtalar mobility) or as a physical whole (moving from one position into the next during a run).
Are both important to young athletes or is one more important than the other?
This is a great question. Both are important for the older athlete (ages 14-18+) as athletes within this age group tend to show more restrictions with both flexibility and mobility, often times once you take care of the flexibility then you improve mobility. But with the younger athlete (ages 13 and under) I wouldn’t place much importance on either one unless there has been a certain injury that limits each.
Are there different kinds of Flexibility, or is ‘bending over to touch my toes and stretch my hammy’ what all young athletes should be doing?
There are seven different ways of going about flexibility: