Dynamically Stretching For Softball
It's common knowledge that most athletes don't properly stretch and warm-up their bodies before their respective games or practices. Of course, this can lead to many avoidable injuries and time with the physical trainer, yet it's often ignored anyway. Believe it or not, this type of dynamic stretching is crucial even for softball players despite its inherently static play style.
The constant stop-start motion of running the bases or quickly fielding the ball can become tricky when the athlete is not properly prepared. So, if you feel tight or unwell during games, consider starting with one of our dynamic workouts the next time out, you won't regret it!
We know that running a couple laps before practice is everybody's least favorite activity, but it's actually one of the most important pre-game factors. Trying to turn a car after it sits outside all night and forcing the engine to full speed immediately is a terrible idea -- and this notion generally works the same with humans as well. Jog at a decent pace until just after you've broken a sweat, then your body is ready for the dynamic stretching it needs.
For those generally unaware, static stretching can be relatively bad for the body as it immediately puts cold tension on tight muscles without getting things loose. So, save the static stretching until after so you can specifically target problem muscles or those that need just a little bit of extra attention.
The wonderful nature of dynamic stretching is its flexibility and ability to run through a set of core exercises, muscles, and motions in a small amount of time. From butt kicks to high knees, dynamic stretching focuses on putting your body through game-like situations so it can be properly prepared when it matters most. Although we suggest carving out your own routine and rhythm, starting with a basic stretching sequence like this is highly recommended at first!
- Side Shuffles
- High Knees
- Skipping for height
- Butt Kicks
- Open/Close Gates
Additionally, and especially for anybody that pitches, don't forget your wrist circles, arm circles, and trunk twists! These dynamic stretches are absolutely crucial for pitchers as it helps generate power, snap the ball, create movement, and keep your arm in tip-top shape health-wise. Loosening up your shoulder is key for developing power and torque on your pitches, so don't forgo these easy stretches!
(Related: Read about the different types of pitches here.)
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to stretch out safely and appropriately before putting your body into such a physically demanding atmosphere. Younger athletes can convince themselves that it's not important, or that they can just turn it on when they step on the field but that just isn't true. You'll have nobody to blame but yourself when you're injured because you didn't prepare correctly. At the end of the day, stretching just takes an extra few minutes and will have your body ready to hit home runs and hurl fastballs -- and isn't that what we all want?