All young athletes should stretch before and after engaging in their sport of choice. Whether they’re practicing or gearing up for a game, full and careful stretching is always wise.
Stretching, over time, can help to improve flexibility. In turn, improved flexibility can reduce the risk of injury. Stretching also reduces the risk of strains and soreness and protects the body.
So, what are some good stretches for young hockey players to try? Here are a few that never fail.
Forward lunges are a great way to get the lower half of the body warmed up and ready to spring into action.
To do this easy stretch, kneel down on one leg, placing the other leg forward at a right angle. Lunge down and forward with a straight back. Hold this stretch for about five seconds, then repeat up to six times. Once you’re done, do the same stretch on the opposite side.
The Crossover Stretch
Hockey players are more than familiar with the term “crossover.” However, there’s another type of crossover, and it’s a stretch, rather than an on-ice move.
To do this stretch, cross the legs while standing. Keep the feet close together, and make sure the legs are straight. Then, bend over and touch the toes…or get as close to touching them as possible.
This move should be repeated up to six times. Once done, cross the other way and repeat for a great, full-body stretch.
The Seated Stretch
For a nice, gentle stretch, have players sit down with the soles of their feet pressed together and the knees dropped toward the floor.
Then, have them put their forearms on the knees to gently push the legs to the ground as far as they can go. Have players lean forward as far as possible and hold the stretch for five seconds before repeating up to six times.
These stretches are a few of many that can work wonders for players if performed faithfully before and after each practice or game.