Tag Archive: prevention

How to Give Yourself a Killer Massage

Everyone likes to get a massage, and they don’t just feel good—they’re pretty good for you too. Massages increase blood flow to areas of tension and promote muscle health and healing, and can thus be particularly beneficial to athletes. Unfortunately, we can’t all get a personal masseuse to pamper us regularly. It is possible, however, to give yourself a pretty decent massage with a few simple tools, some of which you probably already have lying around your home.

Continue reading »

The Top 3 Reasons Why You Should be Evaluated by a Strength Training Professional

The technical aspects of the skills involved in fastpitch softball have been studied and developed for a very long time. Yet with all we know now about biomechanics and the development of athletes, I still don’t think there is a great enough emphasis on strength and conditioning, more importantly the RIGHT kind of strength and conditioning, among pre-college softball players. I hear a lot of questions along the lines of, “What can my daughter do to strengthen her throwing arm?” My short answer to that is NOTHING, specifically. A lot of people fall into the trap of trying to strengthen the individual parts of their bodies that they believe are most integral to whatever they’re trying to do. Really though, whenever you focus your workouts on only one or two areas of concern, particularly when those areas may already be overdeveloped from the natural imbalances that occur from playing a sport, you’re asking for trouble. To achieve your maximum potential as a softball player or as an athlete of any sport, it is absolutely critical to strengthen your entire body, including the parts that you may think you don’t really need to use. And to train effectively, it is ESSENTIAL to be evaluated by a strength and conditioning professional.

Continue reading »

4 Exercises for Healthy Shoulders

As the high school season comes to an end, summer travel teams are ramping up. In order to keep your throwing shoulder healthy thoughout the season, you must be PROACTIVE, continuing to keep your shoulder loose and strong before and after you pitch. In my last post, I demonstrated self-massage exercises that you can do if you have two tennis balls and a softball. In this week’s video, I give you my 4 favorite shoulder strengthening exercises that combat the fatigue you accumulate over your season.

Continue reading »

Why Young Softball Players Should Throw a Baseball

I’ve been involved in fastpitch softball, either in a playing or coaching capacity, since I was eight years old. Thus, over the course of my life, I have seen and interacted with a pretty large number of softball players at all levels. It won’t come as any surprise when I say I’ve seen some pretty terrible throwing mechanics; you’ve probably all experienced the same thing. I have, however, noticed a curiosity: in a number of cases I’ve encountered, the most talented and athletic kid on a team has struggled more with her throwing than most of her teammates, displaying inconsistent accuracy, experiencing arm pain, or both. There are a few reasons why this might be the case. Personally, I believe coaches across softball, especially at the beginning levels, should place a much greater emphasis on teaching throwing and catching mechanics than they seem to do. Exposing very young players, even exceptionally talented ones, to competitive play without this foundation is doing a disservice to them and their futures as softball players. In addition to this, however, there is a factor that I believe comes into play in many cases. The average young girl’s hand is small, and a softball is big.

Continue reading »

Is Your Pre-motion Hurting Your Pitch? The Finale!

Monica Abbott about to pitch

Today I’m bringing you the fourth and final part of my windmill pitching pre-motion series. So far in parts 1-3, we’ve talked about improper loading, load foot rotation, and detrimental backswings. Now your load is terrific, your load foot is solid, and your backswing is under control or nonexistent. Is there anything else you can do in your pre-motion that may be detrimental to your pitch? Unfortunately, yes. The Fastpitch Power instructors advocate generally minimalistic pre-motions, and we believe that a lot of excess “noise” in your pre-motion can hurt you immediately and in the long run. Read on to find out why.

Continue reading »

Muscles and Exercises You Can’t Pitch Without: Part 3

How exactly does a strong core allow you to track properly and throw harder? In these two videos, I continue to define how the core muscles contribute to softball pitching performance and demonstrate three exercises using the Valslide that reinforce pitching specific core control.

Continue reading »

Is Your Pre-motion Hurting Your Pitch? Part 3

A good backswing

We’re continuing our series on the pre-motion portion of the windmill pitch and the most common pre-motion issues that end up affecting the pitch negatively. Today’s topic might be a bit controversial: it’s the backswing. I’ll be honest; if it were up to us, we’d eliminate windmill pitchers’ backswings altogether. We believe they do more harm than good, and we’ll explain why in this post. That said, if you must have a backswing to pitch comfortably, you should definitely be aware of the problems that certain backswings can cause and how to keep them under control.

Continue reading »

Muscles and Exercises You Can’t Pitch Without: Part 2

In this week’s video, I explain in more detail the role of the core muscles in maintaining optimal posture throughout the windmill pitching delivery. I redefine what “the core” is and demonstrate why old fashioned exercises like sit ups and crunches are a BAD choice for softball pitchers. I also give you three pitching specific, KILLER core exercise progressions.

Continue reading »

Is Your Pre-motion Hurting Your Pitch? Part 2

Foot collapsing during windmill pitch

Welcome back to my series on the pre-motion part of the windmill pitch! I’m explaining the most common problematic pre-motion issues I’ve seen among windmill pitchers, and how those issues can set the stage for a sub-optimal pitch before the bulk of the pitching motion has even begun. In my last post, I discussed the load and the problems that can arise if you’re doing a reverse load. In this post, we’ll be talking in depth about a tiny little 3-6 inch movement in your load foot that has the power to destroy one of the most important aspects of the pitch: the drive through. Unfortunately, this is an extremely common problem. Does it affect you?

Continue reading »

The Personal Trainer’s Guide to Softball Pitching

Pitch follow-through compared to golf swing

If you’re a fitness professional who trains athletes, stop for a second. You don’t need new exercises, equipment, or certifications. What you DO need is to learn how to communicate what you already have to offer on your athletes’ terms . Speak their language. If you train softball pitchers, this post is exactly what you need.

Continue reading »