Know what to look for if your daughter is pushing it too far.
Before she can dominate the diamond, she has to train. But when the training begins to take over, that’s when the problems arise. Making sure she stays healthy on and off the field is the best way to keep her playing at the top of her game and staying injury-free all season long.
WHAT TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Have you noticed any changes in your daughter’s behavior? Maybe she’s sleeping too much or too little, or not recovering as quickly as normal. There are a handful of ways her body might respond to overtraining. Look out for these signs if you’re suspecting she might be pushing it too far:
- Performance and recovery not at her normal level
- Mood swings - irritable or depressed
- More frequent injuries
- Changes in resting and exercising heart rates
When her body is run down, her performance will suffer substantially. You don’t want her to do too little and not be prepared, but doing too much can also do significant damage on the body.
TIPS ALL AROUND
If you’re noticing some of these signs, don’t worry. We have several tips to get her back on track. Alleviating the stress she may be under and giving her that break her mind and body need will help curb overtraining and keep injuries at bay.
Take off a few days
Setting aside a few days a week so she can rest and recuperate body will let her do some of the things she loves off the field and give her that much-needed separation. Let her catch up on her favorite shows, hang out with her friends, or even just take a nap or two. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as she’s taking the break she might need.
Take longer, scheduled breaks
Every two months or so, have her take a longer break and participate in other activities that will keep her active and moving but not push her too hard. Cross-training activities like swimming, cycling and yoga are great options for conditioning while creating a little distance from softball.
Be in tune with her body
If she isn’t healthy, she won’t play well. It’s that simple. If her body is telling her to slow down, suggest she slows down, too, or alters her workout program. Ensuring she focuses on her wellness and listens to what her body tells her will be the ultimate safety measure.
GET YOUR GEAR ON
Keeping her healthy is both your goal and ours, but she won’t be able to do anything on the field if she doesn’t have the right equipment. From bats to helmets and facemasks to workout gear, having the right size and design is a must for optimal performance.
When determining the right bat size for fastpitch softball, make sure she’s not choosing one that’s too light or heavy—or too long or short. If she’s a youth, bats typically range between 26 and 32 inches long, so don’t buy one that’s beyond her size and strength. For older players, proper bat size is typically between 30 and 34 inches long. And while we know it may be tempting to buy one simply because of the color, or hoping she grows into it, function comes first—always.
We recommend doing everything you can to keep her safe, and that includes a facemask. When your daughter is on the field, the potential for injury is always there, so preparing is a must. If she’s younger and just starting out, help her pick out a youth softball facemask for those moments when she might fumble with the ball or slip up. Even if she’s older, that extra protection from a fly ball or hit will give both of you peace of mind. If injuries do happen, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
DON’T FORGET WHY SHE STARTED
It can be easy to get caught up in the competition to overtrain and push her body beyond its limits. But when this happens, remind your daughter why she started in the first place. It’s okay to take a step back when it gets to be too much. Encourage her to have fun playing the game she loves and remember what motivates her to step onto the diamond in the first place. Because losing sight of why she enjoys playing can be just as damaging as overtraining.