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Education and Human Development

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Athletic Training - F.A.T.E.

What is F.A.T.E.?

The Forming Athletes Through Education (F.A.T.E) program was designed to reach out to Maine high schools and athletic programs so they may determine their own fate in educating and training athletes in a safe and effective way.  F.A.T.E is a resource that can be used to learn more about the development of a successful athlete through strength and conditioning, nutrition, and hydration to name a few.  It is important to account for all aspects of an athlete’s life style in order to prepare and train him or her to reach highest potential.  The mission is to research and utilize the help of trained professionals to educate on not just the how but also the why you do certain things to improve performance in hopes that you can change the fate of your athletes’ future.


Dynamic Stretching and Flexibility
Myofascial Release

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching is a flexibility program using controlled body movements with gradual increase of intensity prior to full activity to prepare muscles to move through sport specific ranges of motion.  This is a great tool to implement into your daily warm-up and cool-down programs.

Common Dynamic Stretches

Perform each stretch or exercise for a distance of about 20 yards each.

Concentration on Dynamic Stretch: (Click here to download examples of Dynamic Stretching techniques)

  • Stretches the muscles of the posterior hip.
  • As you step forward, grasp the shin of the opposite leg and pull the knee toward the chest.  Concentrate on extending the stepping leg, and get up on the toes.  The action of extending the leg and rising on the toes activates the opposite hip flexor.  Alternate legs with each step.
  • Grasp the shin with a double overhand grip and pull the shin to waist height.  This causes the hip to externally rotate.  At the same time, extend the hip of the supporting leg while rising up on the toes.  Switch legs with each step.
  • THINGS TO LOOK FOR:  Do not allow the individual to grab their foot or ankle.  This causes unnecessary stretch and pressure on the ankle muscles and joints.
  • Lunge forward with one leg so that your thigh is parallel with the ground forming a right angle at the knee for both the forward and back leg.  As you lunge, twist your body toward the side in which the leg is out in front to really stretch the hip flexors.  For additional length and stretch, have your arms straight above your head and let your eyes follow your hands as you rotate to the side.  Return to start and lunge to the other side.
  • THINGS TO LOOK FOR:  Be sure the knee of the lunged leg does not bend out back the toe of the same leg.  That will put added stress on the knee.
  • Pull the heel to the butt with the same side arm and extend the hip of the supporting leg while rising up on the toes as done in the Heel to Hip stretch.  You can also grab the heel with the opposite arm of the leg being stretched to stretch the more medial aspect of the quadriceps.  Switch legs each step.
  • Stretches hamstrings; provides proprioceptive stimulus for muscles in the ankle
  • Reach both arms out to the side while attempting to lift one leg up to waist height.  This action provides an great dynamic stretch of the hamstring of the supporting leg while also activating the hamstring of the opposite leg as a hip extensor.  To move forward, simply swing the back leg through for one large step.
  • THINGS TO LOOK FOR:  Be sure the individuals shoulders are parallel to the ground.  With tight hamstrings and hip flexors it is very common to see the hips open and rotate as they begin to bend down to the ground.  Only allow them to go as far as they can without breaking proper form.
  • As you did in the Atlas stretch, lunge forward with one leg until both knees are at 90 degrees.  Instead of rotating, lift the back leg up until you are able to straighten out the front knee/leg to stretch the hamstring.  Hold for 2 seconds and then lunge with the opposite leg you started with.
  • THINGS TO LOOK FOR:  Be sure the knee of the lunged leg does not bend out back the toe of the same leg.  That will put added stress on the knee.

Concentration on Dynamic Movement

  • Begin in a push-up position.  From the push-up, drop the hips to stretch the abdominal area and then walk the feet up as close to the hands as possible while keeping the legs straight.  This is done in small steps and no knee bend. The portion of the movement provides an excellent hamstring stretch.  From this position, “walk” forward with the hands without moving the feet, finishing again with the hips down to stretch the abdominals.
  • For the allotted distance the goal is to drive your knees up to at least waist height as you move forward using your arms as if you were running normally.  Focus on driving your knee up as fast as you can and get as many repetitions as you can.
  • THING TO LOOK FOR:  Be sure they are focusing on getting repetitions rather than going as fast as they can to finish.  It is not a race!
  • With a slight lean forward while using your arms, contract your posterior leg muscles while you bring your heels to your butt as quickly as possible.  Like with high knees your goal is to get as many repetitions as you can.
  • Lift straight leg in front of your body as opposite arm swings forward.  Use your glute to pull your heel back down to the ground underneath your hip moving your body forward as the other leg swings forward.
  • THINGS TO LOOK FOR:  Be sure posture is being maintained and that the supporting leg on the ground is straight.
  • The backward run is literally running in reverse. The emphasis is on actively pushing with the front leg while reaching out aggressively with the back leg.  Backward running strongly activates the hamstring as a hip extensor and dynamically stretches the anterior hip.  This movement activates the hamstrings while stretching the hip flexors.  In effect, it is the opposite of the straight-leg skip.
  • This exercise is great for getting the feet moving quickly and working on balance and body awareness.  Starting with feet shoulder width apart, cross your right foot behind the left, return to start, then cross the right in front of the left, then return to start.  Continue this pattern as you move laterally for the 20 yards.  When you come back, switch and have the left foot cross behind and in front.  After you master the footwork, you can add in different styles such as a high knee as you drive the respective leg in front of the other or quick feet, performing as many steps as you can in the allotted space.
  • THINGS TO LOOK FOR:  Be sure the athlete keeps their chest up and is looking forward and not down at their feet.  Also make sure they are swiveling their hips to really get a good stretch and activation of the abductor and adductor muscles.


Agility is the ability to stop, start, and change the direction of the body or body parts rapidly and in a controlled manner.  Most agility drills are burst of short distance sprints and involve multiple changes of direction that require you to stop quickly and change direction however all differ based on the sport or activity being performed.

1.  Drills should be done at full speed.
2.  Rest no more than 30 seconds between repetitions.
3.  Rest 2-3 minutes between exercises.
4.  On all drills requiring cuts, stay low and keep the feet moving (do not round off cuts).

Example Drills: (Click here to download graphics and instructions for agility drills)

Off Set Wave
Line Drills
Pro Agility Drill

VARIATIONS for all drills:

1.  Going or starting opposite side than stated
2.  Start on stomach
3.  Start on back
4.  Start on hands and knees
5.  Start in football stance

Self Myofascial Release

This is a partner free technique used only with the assistance of a foam roller, tennis ball, medicine ball, etc. for stretching.  The Golgi tendon organ, which senses tension and rate of tension change in the muscle, responds to high or prolonged tension by causing the muscle spindles to relax the agonist (muscle being worked on).  This response is caused by your body resting against the foam roller.  Manual contact can be used to evaluate and treat soft-tissue restriction and pain, relieve symptoms and improve motion and function.

General Technique

1.  Find a tender spot in the area you are working and keep the roller on this spot.  Wait for the discomfort to diminish by 50-75%.
2. When this area is no longer sensitive you can then begin to see if there are other sensitive areas and repeat.
3.    When the area is free of pain and can be rolled over, then continue rolling regularly to keep the area relaxed.
4.  Use the roller as warm-up prior to activity and also for cool down after workout.

**The use of self myofasical release gives you the freedom to take the basic idea and technique and manipulate it to create your own variations of exercises based on the specific needs of the individual.

IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER – Keep your core tight while doing these activities.  Not only are you working on releasing tight muscles but also working on proper spinal alignment and core strength. Posture and balance are important when performing any activity!

Common Areas for Foam Rolling (Click here to download examples of Self-Myofascial Release techniques)

Thoracic Spine Mobility

  • Begin with the roller around mid back with feet flat on the ground and hands behind head.  Core engaged with back straight.
  • Slowly roll to mid/upper shoulder blade area.
  • Roll to right or left to emphasize one side.

Piriformis/Gluteus Medius

  • Sit on side of gluteus with ankle of opposite foot across quadriceps.
  • Balance on hand and one foot holding on “hot spots” (tender areas) until pain diminishes.
  • Roll from top of gluteus to middle.

Iliotibial Band

  • Begin on your side with roller at hip bone.  Keep body perpendicular to ground.  Balance on forearm.
  • Slowly roll to find “hot spots” from hip to just above the knee.
  • Change emphasis slightly by rolling side to side.

Teres Minor/Latissimus

  • Lie on one side with shoulder perpendicular to the ground and foam roller just under the armpit.
  • With arm bent, rollout teres minor (back shoulder).
  • With arms straight roll latissimus dorsi from bottom to top.

Upper Hamstring

  • Balance on hands and feel rolling the upper hamstring area.


  • Balance on hands to work hamstrings from glute to knee.
  • Cross one foot over the other to emphasize one side.


  • Balance on hands, roll from knee to ankle.
  • Emphasize one side by crossing your legs.
  • Do this with toes pointed out and up.


  • Balance on elbows, facing the ground with quads on foam roller.
  • Work your way up and down the roller.
  • To place greater emphasis on one leg, cross one leg over the back of the other or shift body weight to one side.

Hip Flexors

  • Lie on the far end of roller, on the hip complex of one side.
  • Slowly roll up and down.
  • Change position on roller to emphasize lateral (outside) areas.


  • Balance on elbow and hand with one leg (roller side) at about 130 degrees.
  • Slowly roll from knee to hip complex changing leg position slightly for emphasis.
  • Shift weight toward roller for more pressure.


  • Get on all fours with either far end or entire roller on one shin.
  • Shift body to apply pressure to anterior tibialis (muscle on front of shin) roll from knee to ankle.
  • Rolling to outside to get emphasis on peronous.

Image Description: Forming Athletes Through Education

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National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education

Contact Information

Education and Human Development
5766 Shibles Hall
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: (207) 581-2412
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System