Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck
Stretching is an interesting subject. Studies have shown that when you stretch, you actually get weaker. Pure, old-school stretching should generally be done after a workout when the muscle is warm as opposed to prior to a workout.
What you should do before an athletic activity is warm-up: get your blood circulating and the muscles and tendons prepared for battle. The best way to warm-up is to simulate the activity you're going to do at a lower level of intensity.
This is counter to what people were taught 15-20+ years ago but it's been known in S&C circles for about 10-15 years.
Each player should have a specific stretching routine that they perform after workouts and at other designated times.
This is very important point you bring up. We "spoke" of this in an old thread. Everyone used to be encouraged to stretch before prior heavy exercise believing that this would lessen the possibility of injury. It was found that this in fact encouraged injuries. Now it is known that simple brisk walking or gingerly running prior to stretching actually introduces increased blood supply to all muscle tissues, preparing them to naturally expand. This allows for avoidance of sudden stretching of a cold muscle which tends to maintain in a contracted, shortened state. If this regimen is left up to the individual player instead of supervised as a group, it wouldn't be surprising for individual trainers/players take the wrong road out of ignorance or in the process of trying to "shortcut" the preparation when "time-restrained." In either case, the player is likely to suffer the consequences, if not now, then later.