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Whenever North Shore Girls Softball starts warming up for their season, I began to wonder what my daughter should be doing as a San Diego athlete to prepare. She is playing Fall Ball for the league, which is a good start. After all, practice makes perfect. However, during the time she tucks away her bat during the first winter months, what should she do to keep her skills and enthusiasm well honed? Or does she have to do anything at all?
I recently found a book called Raising Our Athletic Daughter by Jean Zimmerman and Gil Reavill. After reading a few excerpts and having an interview with them on the family education website, I realized what an important role sports can play in my daughter’s life. Not only are girl athletes healthier, they’re more self-confident and have higher self-esteems. Moreover, young female athletes are whole “achievers.” Their sense of focus gives them higher grades and a purpose in life.
So how do we encourage our San Diego athlete to stay athletically motivated during the off-season? Basically, get active as a family. Statistics show that girls who have parents involved in sports are more likely to get involved in sports themselves. If your not playing a sport, play with them. Grab a glove and go out and play catch, or hit a few grounders. Keep them loving what they participate in. Also, take a run or hike together regularly to keep fit. The community of Carmel Valley San Diego has a ton of great running and hiking spots to choose from! It’s a great way to connect and communicate. Most importantly, when the season starts, be present to cheer them on – they notice, and your support is priceless.
“I would work specifically on whole leg strength to support the knees and promote foot speed on the bases. Working core muscles (abdominals and shoulders primarily) will help bat speed and throwing arm strength. Also, strong legs come from running a lot while playing and some agility training mixed in. Here is one of my favorites for foot speed and quadriceps strength. Place cones (or any 2 objects, a towel for instance) about 15 to 20 feet apart. Place a softball on one cone. Work intervals, 1 to 2 minutes in length by shuffling from cone to cone as fast as possible and transferring the ball from side to side. Alternate a shuffle with a sprint, a skip, tip toeing etc.
Working with bats can also be helpful. Try some fast swings, slow swings, and swings without the bat. If you have a donut weight for your bat add that after a while. Form and fundamentals are very important. Doing a well planned out workout with your friends at Fit N Fun Kids would also be a great idea! We will work on all the “softball area’s” and come away with a well balanced athlete who can get out on that field and play great and stay in the game.”
So the answer to my original question is yes there are steps you can take to keep your child motivated and fit. As a bonus, it will benefit your whole family.
Stacy Modugno can be reached through her website at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-735-0620.
Elizabeth Ander Hughes serves on the North Shore Girls Softball League board as Fall Ball Coordinator and Social Media Director. She also has her own food blog called Virtually Homemade and is an experienced writer. Liz is a Carmel Valley San Diego community resident and mom to two wonderful kids and a wife to a loving husband. She will be working on behalf of North Shore Girls Softball League to feature information about youth athletics and also inform the community about their softball events and the North Shore Girls Softball League in general. We are excited to have both Liz and NSGSL as part of our growing “Sports” section.