Responses to comments are posted at the end of this article.
A lot of people have told me that they have one split but not the other, or are very close to their splits but just can’t get there. Also people have told me that they stretch all the time with no improvement.
If your splits are not improving, it may be because you are stretching incorrectly. Remember that you should warm up your muscles before you stretch. You should actually be warm and sweaty before you begin stretching. This requires at least a ten minute jog, if not more. Warming up is not just walking a lap or running a few yards. When you are warm, you can feel the stretch much better.
Remember also that you should be stretching consistently (stretch both legs, for instance, not just one side of your body). Touching your toe for two seconds is not stretching either. Feel the stretch, the longer the better. A couple of minutes per stretch is excellent.
Lastly, splits require flexibility in more than one area. Stretch everywhere, and make sure you sit in your splits (or as close as you can get to your splits) for a few minutes after stretching.
If you are still having problems, feel free to leave a comment and tell me about it.
Edit 1/18/07: My posts about stretching the splits are for all kinds of splits (center, side). All other types of splits (like splits in the air) are just like normal splits, except with leg strength added.
Edit 2/25/07: Kerry–for the splits, the back leg should be perfectly straight in the end. Don’t worry if you’re not there yet, it’s just a little extra stretching. Try to gently push that back leg straight. Another way is to try to sit up straighter because it pushes your pelvis down to the ground and sometimes straightens that back leg. If your front leg is close to the ground, then stretch until the end of the week to see what happens. If you’re still a bit off the ground, then try lenghthening your stretching sessions. Getting extra warm before stretching helps. The best stretch for getting your front leg down is to just go down as far as you can and hold it for a minute or two. Then do some other stretches, and try it again. Concentrate hard, and you will find yourself getting nearer to the splits. For tryouts, all teams are different. Usually, the majority of people who try out are freshmen. It works like this because people who are interested in drill try out when they are freshman, and if they make it then they’re on the team . . . if they don’t make it then they usually don’t try out again because they don’t think that they can make it. Anyway, they will not expect you to know everything. Anything that you need to know will be taught to you, and if it is not, you can always ask for help. Most of the people who have never done it before will make the team based on the fact that they have potential. They usually don’t judge your perfection, but they judge things like your determination, willingness to improve, listening skills, work ethic, and your ability to work with others. If they see someone who has no experience, isn’t perfect, but works hard, practices a lot, and wants to get better, that person will make the team.
Edit 5/13/2007: Rebecca–in my opinion, it is never “too late” to start. Making the drill team is largely about your commitment and dedication. It’s not about whether not you can do the splits; it’s about how badly you want to get the splits down, and how badly you want to learn drill. If you truly want to make the team, then your best bet is to demonstrate your commitment by stretching now and practicing hard during the try-out/audition process. If you need help with the splits, I’d recommend that you read this article: Stretch Your Splits in 3 Weeks. In the meantime, good luck with making the team next year!