Stretching should always be taken seriously before games, practices

On game days, baseball and softball players may be anticipating playing so much that they can easily forget to take the time to properly stretch before they start running, throwing and hitting. This, of course, makes them significantly more vulnerable to not only muscle pulls and tears, but ligament and tendon damage that can sideline them until the following season.

Coaches should make sure that their athletes get plenty of stretching exercises in before every game and practice – even if they are just taking some swings in the batting cage. It may be a good idea to have players arrive at games early before the other team show up so they're not distracted and can focus on thoroughly warming up.

Of course, players should start by stretching out their arms. They can do this by swinging them to the back and front of their body, as well as in a circle on their side. Next, they should hold their throwing arm across their softball or baseball jerseys for roughly 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat with the other side.

Next, athletes should bend straight down and touch their baseball or softball footwear. While in this position, they can link their fingers together behind their back and bring their hands frontward to stretch their shoulders. For additional leg stretching, players can do squats with their baseball bats over their shoulders, as well as lunges.

It's important they players keep their arms warm during games. They can do this by putting their throwing arm into the sleeve of a jacket whenever they're in the dugout. After games, players should put ice on their arms. This is particularly important for pitchers and catchers, who used their arms more frequently than any other players during the game.

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