Stretching : Does it Work?

I’ve had a lot of coaches over the years insist we stretch before beginning a workout. I’ve always been skeptical, it never seemed to prevent injury for me. A google search came up with a couple articles that said it made people MORE likely to be injured.
I don’t want to focus on the ancilliary benefits. I’m sure it slightly promotes stability and slightly warms up muscles, which is good.
Also, does stretching help flexibility? It seems that people are born with certain flexibility and it doesn’t change much, regardless of what they do.

So give me the straight dope on stretching please.

I was a distance runner and ran every day for 20 years. I also do weight work for upper body, and now still hike and climb mountains almost every day.

I tried stretching many times before a run or workout, and not only did it not seem to help at all, but it often left me with a pain in a muscle or ligament for a day or two. So, I just quit doing it, and it has never made any difference at all.

When my back got really bad recently, the doc had me doing hamstring stretches, which hurt like hell but I kept on until the back got better, and then stopped.

I think some of us are in the minority, where it does not help, or if done wrong can cause injuries. However, almost everybody I know who does strenuous exercise benefits from warmups and stretching, but not me.

In all these years, I have not stretched and never had any kind of stress injury from hard, frequent exercise.And I’m 81. YMMV.

I’ve always been told that you are never supposed to stretch before a workout, only afterwards, when the muscles are nice a warm. This was reinforced while taking personal training in university, and again recently by my physical therapist helping me work through a knee injury from running.