As with any other sport, there are specific guidelines to follow to ensure that you are safe from debilitating injuries. To start with, even experienced softball players can develop certain injuries because of improper softball mechanics. When you are rushing through pre-practice or game preparations, chances are, you can acquire injuries such as ankle sprain, back and knee pain and ACL or simply, the inflammation of the tendons.
Thus, it is important to do at least 20 minutes of jogging, stretching, full distance overhand throwing and soft overhand throwing. While doing this, pay attention to your shoulders, wrist movement, core muscles and arm rotation.
Below are other softball guides to take into consideration.
- Various softball leagues may require specific softball bat to be used and others may ban some bats. Make sure to check and follow your league’s policy in choosing a bat.
- There are also proper uniform and gear to wear to protect you from cuts, scrapes and sprains. This isn’t about looking good as your uniform is very functional. Always wear the right equipment to keep you safe.
As per gear guidelines, using the right gear will prevent injuries. The common gear includes:
- Sliding pads and sliding pants, which helps you protect your knees and shins
- Other optional gears include mouth guards, face guards, batting gloves (this is different from the usual softball glove) and foot and shin guards.
- A batting helmet is a must for players who will run the bases or has a bat or is waiting to bat. Other pitchers are also required to wear them. It should cover both the ears and with an approved face guard.
- Helmets with face masks are important for catchers as well as a full-length chest protector, mitts, throat guards and shin guards.
Game Preparations and Execution
Aside from acquiring all the necessary gears, uniforms and other equipment, you should also have your body in tune by getting plenty of exercises and rest. Be in your best shapes as possible before practicing to lower your risk of getting injured.
Throwing Preparation – your arm need plenty of stretching and warm-up to be prepared for that hard throw. We all have different preferences in terms of warming up, but regardless which way you choose, start with soft throws so you are able to loosen and stretch your muscles. Follow proper throwing mechanics to avoid putting pressure on your shoulders.
Fielding a ball– practice doing this with your team to avoid having doubts as to who would field the ball. Going full speed after hitting the ball increases the chance of collision among teammates since you are focused on the ball.
Prefer breakaway bases – base paths are where injuries commonly happen, especially for fixed bases. Fixed bases or the traditional stationary bases usually have unmovable obstacles that may cause foot, leg and ankle injuries.
Fortunately, most leagues nowadays prefer breakaway bases that are snapped on anchored rubber mats as these lessen the chance of injuries. Practice base running with your head up and looking at the other players and the ball.
Proper sliding – ankle and foot injuries are mainly due to sliding so learn how to properly slide. Avoid sliding with head first to prevent head and face injuries.
Other Tricks and Safety Tips
Make sure that equipment such as bats, gloves and balls are not damaged. Safely put them away before you start warm-ups, practice and actual games. Inspect the field to see if there are debris, holes and broken glass that can also cause injuries and wounds.
It is crucial to rest when you are tired to protect your arms, especially pitching requires an enormous amount of tension on your joints and tendons. There are pitch count guidelines to follow according to age and league.
Drink plenty of water to stay nourished and hydrated. Also, use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 to protect your skin, since you are playing under the scorching heat. Reapply it after an hour. Always follow the guidelines, tips and tricks mentioned above to stay safe while enjoying softball.