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Baseball is a relatively low-impact sport that can still cause a broad range of injuries if players aren’t carefully prepared. From pulled muscles in the arms to head injuries, players are at risk every time they take to the field. However, it is possible to protect yourself from the dangers of the game by taking a few necessary precautions.
The following five tips are the best ways to stay safe at a baseball game. Many of them may seem like they are little more than common sense, but they are so common for a reason: they work. Make sure to follow this advice when you take to the field to stay happy, healthy, and able to play baseball another day.
When it comes time to play a pickup game, it’s easy just to ignore your safety gear and jump out on the field. This move is a grave mistake. Safety equipment is designed to protect you against the serious concerns that can occur on the baseball field. Without it, you open yourself to any number of minor or severe issues.
For example, if you don’t wear a helmet when you bat, you run the risk of a huge hit on the head that could knock you unconscious. Even worse, it could cause brain damage or possibly death. Other pieces of safety equipment, like knee pads, are an important way of protecting your legs from serious injury.
2. Take a Break When You’re Tired
Everybody wants to be the hero when they’re out on the field. Pushing yourself a little harder than necessary is part of the fun of playing sports. However, there is a chance you could push yourself just a little too far for your good. For example, pitching an excessive number of innings could put a severe strain on your arm.
That stress could cause serious problems, such as pulled muscles, that could become even more severe later on down the road. Taking a rest when you feel tired is not a shameful thing to do. In fact, it can be an important way of avoiding overworking your body, your muscles, and causing bad issues that would never have occurred otherwise.
3. Always Warm Up Before You Play
Warming up your muscles and lungs before you play baseball is one of the most significant ways of avoiding injury. Sure, it can feel redundant to throw the ball around on the field for 15 minutes before playing. However, it can get your muscles working in a relaxed manner and prepare them for the more challenging experiences that lay ahead.
Warm ups to consider include light jogs, throwing drills, batting practice, stretches, and even sprints. Working your lungs and your body will not only protect you from injury but get your blood flowing. This increased blood flow will boost your level of energy naturally and give you more strength. It will also make more blood available if you do get injured, helping your wounds heal more quickly.
4. Avoid Excessive Contact
While baseball is not a contact sport, there are instances when it may be unavoidable. For example, you may hit slightly into basemen when running or even collide with a teammate when trying to field a ball. These instances may seem comical to those who are watching the game, but they can lead to injuries as severe as concussions when they do occur.
You should also just accept the tag out at home base if the catcher has the ball. Running into the catcher, or even through them, could injure both you and that player. It is also typically frowned upon or even illegal in most leagues. Try to slide around them when at all possible, but if you’re out dead to rights, just accept the tag and avoid the injury.
Another way to prevent contact injuries is to stop sliding when it isn’t necessary. Yes, sliding is a lot of fun and even dramatic, but there’s no need to slide into the home base if you’re in no danger of being thrown out. Sliding can cause a lot of impact on the body when done too often. It can cause scrapes, strains, and even sprains. So keep on your feet unless you can’t avoid it.
5. Stretch Before Playing
Baseball players should perform a series of simple exercises to protect their body from injury while on the field. Just a few of these stretches include:
- Sleeper Stretch – This stretch consists of moving the shoulders and arms in gentle ways to decrease the potential strain on the arms and keep the player from getting injured.
- Serratus Slide – Performing this stretch consists of rotating the shoulder blades up and down, in simple circles, as a way of decreasing tension.
- Rotation Hip Stretch – Bend your knees forward at 90 degrees, spread your feet as far apart as is comfortable, and touch your toes to complete this stretch.
- Pec corner Stretch – Press your throwing shoulder against the corner of a wall and turn your body and head away from the wall as far as you can.
By performing these simple warm-up exercises, the baseball player can prevent serious injuries and keep themselves in great shape. They are also a good way to directly work the body and prepare for the hard experience that lay ahead.
Be safe out there!
Mori V. Brockbank is a high school counselor by morning, a volleyball coach by day, and a motivational/sports blogger by night. Her passion for empowering and strengthening others flows within her work and writing.