The Softball game has been around for a relatively shorter period than most games. As a result, little research has been carried out to address the shortcomings of the game. Most of its rules are drawn from those of baseball which at times do not suit perfectly into softball. According to Keith J. Cronin (2012), over-training and excessive playing (pitching) is likely to transform into an epidemic outbreak of injuries and shoulder problem to the young players if it goes unrestricted. This edition is therefore a researched article that will enable a player/coach to keep the trouble at an arm’s length.
What are some of the practices that have been identified as harmful in softball?
- Poor landing/exerting pressure in one leg: pitchers will always seek the easiest and fastest means to throw. Thus, when landing, the landing leg is likely to be stretched further and falls with agility. The tip works and the pitcher will be much stable. However, this causes “wear and tear” upon the hip and the knee that is likely to result into arthritis. It is thus a free advice for one to learn of switching legs when landing.
- Overstretching & over-rotating: when rotating or throwing, gravity is likely to boost the player’s ability. However, as one tires up, the gravity will work to overstretch the arm of a player when the arm is inclined towards the ground. This practice has been linked to arm soreness and permanent damaging of the arm ligaments. Thus, overstretching is likely to result into permanent arm instability. The Stack Online Magazine suggested at least a three day break for any softball player with arm sores.
- Ignoring fatigue: softball pitchers’ complains will likely face fatigue after repetitive pitching or throwing. In most cases, fatigue is ignored or attributed to laziness which isn’t the case. During fatigues, the body muscles request breaks for resting. If ignored over and over, they will surely result to overuse of the player and ultimately the player is likely to retire young due to arm complications.
- The Rise-balls and Sliding Balls: these tactics have been associated with elbow disjunction, arthritis and nervous system complication.
So, what practices are good in softball?
After a careful study, I could sum all precautions into two phrases: obeying the rules and using some common sense. Below is a short summary of 6 tips that a player should always do according to the Softball Injury Prevention Publication of 2012.
- Learn proper sliding techniques. Players should be encouraged on feet-first sliding technique.
- Gauge player training with a slow but gradual training on running, throwing and stretching.
- When in need of excessive playing, reduce the warm-uptime.
- Always insist on wearing protective gear and proper grooming when playing.
- Have an age-sensitive playing. i.e. for junior players (8-10 years)- make an average of 65 pitches per 3 days; for intermediate players (11-14 years)- make an average of 90 pitches per 3 days and 120 pitches for players above 14 years per three days. There is a grave danger for pitchers who make 1000 pitches per weekend as most juveniles do.
- Get enough rest after tedious matches. Practicing with an already stressed limb is likely to expose a player to grave dangers. Resting is golden.
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