Always warm up
Never begin without a good warm up as any stresses the body is under while cold can lead to an injury. A typical softball beginner warm up should include a few minutes jogging to increase the body’s core temperature; then some stretching to gradually warm up muscles; then start with some easy throwing before moving onto harder throws.
Pick the right glove
You should ensure that your glove is the correct one for your position and size. Some people assume that the bigger the glove, the easier it is for you to catch with, but this isn’t the case at all. Choose a glove that fits well, is not too heavy, and is easy for you to transfer the ball out of glove to your throwing hand.
Break in your glove
After choosing a glove, you need to soften it up so that it is pliable, which should make things much easier as a softball beginner. The best thing you can do is work the glove by practicing as much as possible. There are many ideas of shortcuts to softening the glove’s leather and one of these is using lanolin which is commonly found in many shaving creams.
Storing your glove
When not actively using the glove, you can help shape it or help it keep the shape you worked so hard to achieve by leaving a ball in it and wrapping a shoe lace or rubber bands around it – or even putting it underneath a mattress.
Buy quality cleats
Good softball cleats can make all the difference to your comfort and play. Make sure that you purchase a softball cleat that offers good support but most importantly is comfortable. Your ankles and arches need to be supported and if you have bad ankles, then hi-top cleats might be a better option.
Perfect your throwing technique
Not only are good throws going to help you win matches, good technique will also help you stay fit. Perfecting your throwing mechanics is an important part of being a softball beginner, as it will reduce your chances of picking up an arm or shoulder injury and it’ll also mean you can generate more power with less effort being required.
While it is good to know your primary position inside out so that you can be the best at it as you possibly can, it is also worth getting to know at least one secondary position. Being versatile is a great asset for a softball player but particularly so for their team.
Training using intervals
Softball players are required to make short speedy burst of energy so need the conditioning of sprinter rather than a marathon runner. Focus on building speed by doing ‘intervals’. A good example would be running hard for 45 seconds, followed by 45 seconds of recovery, which is repeated 10 times in the session. Interval work builds up your capacity to recover from more intense efforts.
Always run the bases aggressively
Always run the bases aggressively, almost as if your life depends on it. Be in a hurry to make your ground and always slide. There is nothing more frustrating than being out when you know that you didn’t commit yourself but ran the base too casually. Don’t be the one to let your side down.
Stretch and ice after sessions
Stretching after practice and matches can help with recovery and injury prevention. To get maximum benefit from a stretch it should be held for 30 seconds. Try and develop the habit of stretching on a regular basis. You should also apply ice after every session to all the areas that have been subjected to stress i.e. the arms, shoulders, legs, knees to aid recovery. Deep-tissue massage can also be of benefit.