Training Tip #2 - Stretching

Training Tip By:

Johnny Doyle

Strength and Conditioning Coach
Los Angeles Clippers
  • Training Tip #1 - Water
  • Training Tip #2: FLEXIBILITY

    Flexibility training aides in the recovery of injuries, decreases the chance of injury and increases range of motion. It is an important part of the Strength and Conditioning program. A proper warm up, stretch (a minimum of 15- 20 minutes per session), two to three times a day and a proper cool down aids in reducing muscle soreness; always warm up muscles before stretching. Never stretch a cold muscle.

    It is important to understand that the order in which you stretch should be considered. It is a common practice that a stretching program starts with center of movement stretches. That is back and hips followed by the hamstrings.

    Stretching the largest muscle groups first allows for greater potential flexibility in the smaller muscle groups.

    Hence, an ideal stretching order would be:

    (1) Back
    (2) Hips
    (3) Hamstrings
    (4) Groin
    (5) Quads (calf, ankles, feet)
    (6) Shoulders
    (7) Neck

    There will be times when time constraints and other situations that will force you to change the order. Just remember that stretching the larger muscle groups first will usually be best.


    Begin each exercise session with a 3-5 minute warm up. The goal of the warm up is to increase specific muscle and core body temperature. Preferred active warm up involves specific muscle or total body movements such as calisthenics, jogging or basketball drills.

    Advantage of an active warm up:

  • Increase blood flow to the working muscle
  • Decrease muscle viscosity
  • Improved functioning of nerve transmission
  • Reduce risk of soft tissue injuries


    The ultimate goal is to improve muscle suppleness. I recommend static stretching as a safe and effective method of achieving flexibility.

    Advantage of stretching:

  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Helps with coordination
  • Increase range if motion
  • Prevents injuries and strains
  • Prepares the muscle, joint and tendons for strenuous activity


  • Stretch to the point of moderate tension

  • Breathe deeply and rhythmically

  • Hold for a minimum of 15 seconds

  • Concentrate on muscles being stretched

  • Relax for 5-10 seconds and repeat stretch

  • Stretch before and after workouts/games

  • Perform two to three sets of each stretch

  • Stretch in smooth control manner


    At the end of each workout take 5-10 minutes to do some low-intensity activity, such as jogging followed by a light stretching routine. A cool down period speeds overall recovery in preparation for subsequent workouts/games.

    Advantage of cool down:

  • Clears the muscles of accumulated lactate.
  • Lessen excessive fatigue.
  • Reduces soreness and cramps.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Drop body temperature back to resting levels.

    About Coach Doyle:

    Few people have as much impact on the way NBA players perform day in and day out as a team's strength and conditioning coach. For the Clippers, that critical job falls on Johnny Doyle's capable shoulders. While assisting the trainer with the physical therapy of the players, he has the primary responsibility for keeping the players in game shape and monitoring between-game workouts and conditioning. Doyle, who enters his eighth season in his current role, came to the team with top-notch credentials. The 35-year-old Los Angeles native spent six years (1988-94) with the nationally respected Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic. At the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic, Doyle's primary responsibility was rehabilitation and conditioning for the numerous athletes that came through the clinic. Doyle has worked with athletes at all levels as well as other sports.

    Born and raised in Los Angeles, Doyle received his degree in Physical Education at Cal State University of Dominguez Hills. A member of the National Strength Coaches Association & National Basketball Conditioning Coaches Association, Doyle continues his commitment to stay active in his native LA community over the offseason by volunteering at several youth camps across Southern California.