It’s the spring-time, and the weather is fine! It’s time for softball with the friends. The problem is that the action in softball is stutter-stop, stutter-stop, skid…..start…change directions….stop again, start again. You’re either resting at ‘full-chill’, or moving at 150% capacity to catch a ball, steal a base, intercept a grounder, etc. Because of this style of action it’s common to gather aches, pains, tweaks, strains and sprains.
CrossFit is all about learning and playing new sports. We value activity, growth, and being READY. Here are my strategies for avoiding those small nagging injuries that can pop up:
1. USE PROTECTION: Stay warm in between plays with a sweatshirt, long sleeve, or a compression sleeve. Knees, elbows, and shoulders are all areas that will benefit from increased temperatures. Think about gloves, sleeves, hats, pads, and cleats. Take care of yourself!
2. BEFORE-PLAY: You know all those PVC stretches we do before CrossFit? Modify those into stretches you can do with a bat. Prime your neurological ‘mind-muscle’ connections with movements that twist, bend, rotate, flex, and extend. You want to be ready for multi-joint movement, so make sure your stretches connect elements of hands, wrists, shoulders, hips, glutes, and calves.
3. SPORT SPECIFIC PREP: Think about the danger zones in the types of movement that could be required. Acceleration through rotation. Changing direction at high speeds. Side to side sprints, up-and-down dives. Home-base throws from the outfield. Identify those zones and go through them a few times in slow motion to prime your muscle memory.
4. SAFE WORD: Be ready to hang back and catch the ball on the bounce, as opposed to diving for it. I know it sounds lame, but back-up plans are cool.
5. HEAD IN THE GAME: Focus, anticipation, and timing. Having a sense of these things can help prevent injury because many times it’s when you get surprised or distracted that tweaks happen.