Athletes of any sport would do well to remember that when it comes to preparing the body for activity, there are certain goals we must achieve, basically across the board.
- Elevate muscle temperature. That usually means working up to at least the point of mild perspiration. Feeling warm is a key step to actually being warm.
- Elevate heart rate. This goes hand in hand with the above point. Typically, you can't have the above without this.
- Lubricate synovial joints. That comes from movement through complete ranges of motion. The release of synovial fluid will prepare joints for work.
- Stimulate the nervous system. Generally speaking, that will come from a few powerful preparatory movements done in a controlled environment. It's even better if these movements simulate the motor skills of the sport in question. A good example would be light bounding or running A's as a sprinter or jumper.
With all of the above said, stretching takes on an interesting and unique role that athletes would do well to recognize and properly apply. First and foremost, we should tackle a key distinction to make sure we're on the same page.