Softball – Here Come the Injuries… No Joke!

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, NASM, PES, FMS)

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March and April are always an exciting time of year because it’s almost time to “Play Ball!”.  It’s also the time of year when players are 10x’s more likely to get injured than any other period during the year (including August and September).

This percentage is even higher in the northeast due to the cold climate that still exists in March and April.

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We see it all the time. Athletes strength-train in November and December.  When January-February comes around and everyone starts throwing and batting, they figure it’s time to stop lifting.  By the time April gets here, it’s been two to three months and they haven’t picked up a weight or done any mobility work. This can leave their bodies unprepared for the amount of torque their shoulders, hips, backs and knees are getting ready to absorb.

By the same token, there are athletes who don’t do any strength and conditioning at all until 4-6 weeks before the season starts and think there is some sort of “magic pill” they’re going to find to get them ready. Do you honestly believe that strength training for 30-45 days will prepare you for the next 200 days of softball? And if it does, please tell me what you’re taking.

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Here at RPP, our workouts at this time of year become more movement specific to the sport with a secondary emphasis on heavy weight training. Why? Because that was supposed to have taken place from October-January!!  We are now using this valuable time to train explosively and are doing a lot of mobility work to make sure athletes’ bodies can handle the upcoming volume of practices, games and travel.

Just getting in the weight room alone at this time of the season won’t get you ready for the season, neither will just doing speed and agility drills, batting and pitching. To be even more blunt on this topic, if you are a high school level player simply doing speed and agility drills in the off-season you’re well on your way to being a professional ladder and cone drill expert.  There are kids out there training with weights since October that are getting faster, bigger and stronger.  We have many of them.

It’s a combination of all these elements (strength training, mobility work, hitting, pitching, nutrition, etc.) used in conjunction with each other all year that reap the best rewards. Not following this protocol can leave you on the long list of hamstring pulls, back spasms, and shoulder injuries just to name a few. And it doesn’t stop there.

Stay tuned next month for my article on training in-season to stay at the top of your game all season.

See you at the gym.