Since I’ve mainly been giving the reasons against stretching I thought I’d (somewhat) balance my comments with some of the reasons supporting the use of stretching.
[*]There is some evidence that an effective stretching program combined with strength training can result in beneficial postural realignment. This may contribute to more efficient movement. Research evicence on this topic is divided.
[*]Stretching can help improve flexibility imbalances among limbs which may be a cause of injury.
[*]Stretching is both psychologically and physiologically relaxing and it can be opportunity for social development and team building when done in a practice situation.
[*]Stretching can increase the compliancy of tendons which may create a more elastic response. There is little research to support this notion though.
[*]Extreme flexibility imbalances (whether agonist / antagonist or by side of the body) may result in movement disfunction and only increase the the imbalance and stretching is one of the most effective tools at addressing this issue.
[*]PNF stretching routines can be used to develop strength in extreme ranges of motion.
[*]There is some anecdotal evidence which suggests that certain types of stretching may be used to address abnormal firing patterns in a muscle.
[*]Dynamic stretching may provide a lead-in from general warmup activities to more specific and higher velocity movements.
[*]Certain stretching routines are effective for treating muscle spasms and rehabilitating injured joints and returning them to normal ranges of motion.
[*]Soft tissue stretching such as that used in ART and Rolfing are effective tools to address soft tissue adhesions and movement disorders.