Keeping Your Fastpitch Softball Girl Healthy!
One of the forgotten aspects of fastpitch softball players is the importance of conditioning and over all health not just DURING the season, but as part of a lifestyle.
Even more important is that the payoff for a young girl who is TAUGHT to pay attention to her overall health and wellbeing ALL THE TIME is twofold. Not only will she be a better athlete, but she will have more self confidence and self esteem as well. These are two of the most IMPORTANT aspects of girlhood that CAN NOT BE given, but are simply earned from within.
Keep in mind, we are NOT talking about weight here. Health comes in all sizes, shapes and forms. We are talking about healthy HABITS in lifestyle, and about teaching your daughter to take care of herself physically so she feels her best, and is year round – in a healthy physical condition.
Far too many young girls today are not getting the exercise they need. Go to a tournament any day of the week and you will see sodas and sugary drinks and Gatorades and bags of chips and fast food meals and junk found abounding from coolers and portable wagons – which is exactly the opposite of what her body ACTUALLY needs during strenuous physical activity.
In truth, it sends a mixed message and actually opposes her efforts to be her best physically and mentally. Keep in mind that there is no judgment being tossed around here – and MOST of us as parents offer unhealthy food choices from time to time as a matter of convenience.
When it comes to a child’s health two things are true. One, is that her eating habits and level of physical activity are often inherited from her family. If a child has parents that pay attention to health and make it a point to eat well and get exercise, the child will too. Secondly, 87% of all children today do not get enough physical activity on a DAILY basis to ensure cardiac and overall health. Even if your child is slim and toned and perfect looking on the outside, her body NEEDS exercise as a ROUTINE to ensure health of all the systems of the body.
When we met some of Team USA – they attested to the fact that they condition year round. And look at these girls – they are physically fit and healthy and all different sizes and shapes.
Being overall busy – and even going to softball practice and taking infield, hitting balls and running the bases at the end of practice once or twice a week is NOT enough exercise to ensure your daughter is in good shape.
In fact, think about your last softball tournament. Chances are at least half of the girls there were overweight, would not be able to run a mile or more straight without being winded, are not stretching enough before games, and are not in their BEST physical condition. How many sodas and bags of chips and concession stand goodies did you see being consumed? How many parents pay hard earned money for specialized lessons and clinics and camps and opportunities to help their daughter become the best, but are lackadaisical when it comes to their overall HEALTH.
Consider this. You wouldn’t put the wrong kind of gas in your cars fuel tank because of the long term damage that it would cause, yet the majority of us will fuel our kids in negative ways.
They are athletes, and talented at their sport – but with more attention to overall health and conditioning, not only could they be BETTER on the field – but they could be healthier as well.
And again, for girls – the way they FEEL is directly related to how happy they are.
Exercise, staying in shape, taking care of yourself, making good choices when it comes to food, and practicing a lifestyle of health and wellbeing can make the ultimate difference in how your daughter feels about herself. Exercise releases endorphins and flushes out toxins. Healthy food nourishes the body. Water is pretty much the one LIFE essential, and it is estimated by the CDC that 91% of the youth today don’t drink enough of it each and every day. And let’s face it – the world that these kids are growing up in is very different from the one that parents grew up in, and is much, much more sedentary.
Most importantly, you will find that when your daughter takes care of herself – her body and mind tend to take care of her in fabulous ways.
If you want your daughter to be her best, on the field and off – then help to instill in her a healthy lifestyle both during the season and during the off season. Take walks, run, enroll in her an exercise class, lift weights, do exercise DVD’s at home – or anything that gets your daughter moving, and make sure to fill the fridge and pantries with healthy food choices. You don’t have to be a tee-totaler and ban anything sweet or salty – but reduce the quantity of these foods.
Make sure the focus is on HEALTH and not size or weight. Have her (teach her) to invest in HER athleticism by making a commitment to herself to take care of her body. Just like she goes to pitching lessons, or hitting lessons to invest in her athleticism, she needs to be taught that the investment in her talent is an everyday thing, or a lifestyle – that starts with her personal health and wellbeing.
What are some of the things that you do to keep your softball player healthy year round?