How to be a Healthy Baseball Player Essay

How to be a Healthy Baseball Player “Baseball is ninety percent mental, and the other half is physical”, this is how Yogi Berra(former New York Yankees catcher) sums up the game of baseball. One way you could interpret this quote, is that the intelligent and competitive players are the ones who keep their bodies healthy and injury free. The only players that make it to professional baseball are the ones who do not suffer serious injuries; which are easily prevented when taught how to avoid them at a young age.

These days there are many parents who think their kids are ready for organized sports, but are their odies fully developed to endure competitive activities? No. In fact, children, along with parents, do not have the knowledge or are not aware of the amount of individual effort it takes to remain a healthy and competitive athlete. Not only does it take educational awareness to prevent injuries, sustain athletic abilities and maintain a healthy nutritional diet, but it also takes more than one expert or professionally designed method to insure all three of these goals are met.

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For the purpose of this research paper three types of nutritional plans, workout routines for baseball players, and injury prevention methods will be explored. In order for a baseball player to have a successful nutritional diet, remain physically fit or sustain athletic abilities, and prevent injuries, more than one method must be adopted and applied. Limiting a baseball player to one plan, method, or routine leads to inevitable lack of awareness and knowledge for unexpected sports related situations, and ultimately puts the player at a higher risk for injury.

As a baseball player becomes more competitive the need for a healthy nutritional diet increases dramatically. In order to lessen the risk of an imbalanced nutritional diet, baseball players must follow more than one nutritional plan. One leading medical expert in sports medicine and nutrition, Dr. Strand, emphasizes that in this modern era, “our stressful lifestyles, polluted environment, and over-medicated society, this generation must deal with more free radicals than any previous generation that has ever walked the face of the earth” (www. aystrand. com). Free radicals are “charged oxygen molecules that are missing at least one electron and desire to get an electron from the surrounding area” (www. raystrand. com). In other words, Dr. Strand recommends that the key to having a well-balanced nutritional diet is not Just eating healthy, but involves educing the number of free radicals the body produces by increasing the number of anti oxidants that will increase the nutrients in your body that are needed to combat oxidative stress. Meanwhile, J.

Anderson, Food and Nutrition Specialist and Professor at Colorado State University, recommends that drinking water to keep fluid in the body and to keep body temperature low, along with eating carbohydrates, are the main ingredients for a healthy nutritional diet. While other recommendations follow, like eating protein and fats, Anderson stresses that keeping water and carbohydrates is far more necessary for peak athletic performance. Anderson states that for the Athlete”, J. Anderson, et al. ) He also mentions that as athletic workouts increase, carbohydrate utilization increases.

It’s understandable that this recommendation is offered because as a baseball player reaches his or her peak of athletic performance, carbohydrates will be needed to fuel the body, otherwise the player will crash and burn. However, following only this nutritional plan will deplete your body of other nutrients. Other nutritional plans must be considered to strengthen the body because an athlete, especially a baseball player, has more than one nutritional need. For example, leading workout and training business, 24 Hour Fitness, recommends athletes “prepare and cook more meals at home instead of eating out… nd consume more nutrient-dense foods and beverages such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low- fat milk products, seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds” (“24 Hour Fitness Nutrition Guidelines,” wmw24hourfItness. com). It is clear from the recommendation of 24 hour fitness that their plan for a healthy nutritional body is focused on eating the right foods. It is also clear that the levels of oxidative stress, and free radicals and need for ater and carbohydrates, have been left out of the nutritional information provided by 24 Hour Fitness.

By demonstrating the missing key nutritional recommendations in one nutritional plan compared to another, it is clear that multiple sources of nutritional plans must be consulted and used in order for your body stay healthy as a whole. By considering these different views on proper nutrition, and utilizing them together, a baseball player can begin to achieve peak athletic performance. In the book “The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance”, one of the key points that the author, H. A.

Dorfman, brings up is that baseball players need to take responsibility for the parts of the game they can control, like their personal thoughts and actions, on and off the field. A player must set their own realistic, and attainable performance goals, and adjust them as circumstances change and periodically self-evaluate progress toward their attainment. Unfortunately things like keeping a consistent workout routine, and nutritional plan are not being taught to young players these days, which makes reaching these goals much harder.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “nearly half of American ouths aged 12-21 years are not vigorously active on a regular basis. About 14 percent of young people report no recent physical activity. Participation in all types of physical activity declines strikingly as age or grade in school increases”(www. cdc. gov). The decline in teenage and youth physical activity is dropping dramatically, and as a result, children are not adopting multiple forms of physical activity, through different types of team sports and physical training.

The demand for kids to be active every day has been halted due to the new found love of technology, particularly the television. With less physical activity, the body develops more stress, a low self esteem, and slight depression. The American Accreditation Health Care Commission suggests that “For most people, exercise may be divided into three general categories: Aerobic or endurance, Strength or resistance, and Flexibility…. A balanced program should include all three”( Reviewed by: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital, et al).

The new innovative workout routine that has incorporated all viewers, is the home training workout DVD “P90x”. It involves all of the three main exercise components of aerobic, strength resistance, and flexibility, and conducts them in a way that helps the body recover more efficiently by a process called “muscle confusion” (beachbody. com). Muscle confusion is summed up as “short training cycles that constantly challenge your muscles with variety and intensity. It maximizes fat burning and muscle sculpting in different ways every day’ (beachbody. com).

The first notable routine P90x introduces in its workout DVD is “Plyometrics”, which in other words, is Jump training that focuses on all types of intense lateral movements. This routine fulfills the aerobic and endurance category recommended by the American Accreditation Health Care Commission as part of a well-rounded workout routine. The next valuable routine P90x Presents is the “Chest, Shoulder, and Triceps” video which focuses on channeling energy and resistance to improve your upper body strength, this fulfills part of the strength or endurance category recommended by the American Accreditation Health Care Commission.

Almost equally as valuable as the next one, is the “Cardio X” video, which focuses on burning calories and improving endurance through vigorous running, Jumping, and uick response drills. This also fulfills the recommendations of the AAHCC. The final and most important video P90x offers is the mfoga X” routine which solely focuses on giving you “strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance, as well as calmness of mind”(Tony Horton, P90x creator). This routine is the most important since it ties all of the main workout components into one vigorous routine, as well as improves your mental state of being.

Through exploring multiple plans and workouts for baseball players and youth, both groups can improve physical and mental state of being. For aseball players, both of these elements are key because baseball relies heavily on mental performance. If a baseball player can begin to adopt from each of these workout recommendations and routines rather than limit him or herself to one, the player can achieve superior athletic performance on the field with confidence and endurance, and will stay healthy. Physical fitness and proper nutrition are key to staying healthy, and building successful baseball career.

However, if players cannot prevent injuries, how will they be able to use their athletic abilities they have worked so hard to acquire? According to the U. S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, “more than 627,000 baseball- related injuries are treated each year” (www. pointssports. com). With this number steadily increasing it is important for parents, coaches, and players to understand the different ways players can prevent even the most common injuries, which includes shoulder strains, and elbow strains.

The most commonly injured part of a baseball player is the arm, which connects to the shoulder and elbow, all of which are constantly used in an unnatural movement. These injuries are called overuse injuries and can be prevented if the player takes the proper precautions and abides y certain regulations. But before a player can use his or her arm in a game, the player must know the proper techniques and tips to help the arm stay healthy. For example, it is important to get a good run and stretch before picking up a baseball; a player should also stretch the shoulder, elbow, as well as other body parts to prevent injury.

The second way to prevent injury is to adopt different workouts that keep the Conditioning Research, “Dynamic neuromuscular stabilization of the shoulder is imperative in the prevention of shoulder injury in the overhead-throwing athlete”(Carter 208). The main workout that has proven to be effective in keeping the shoulder and elbow healthy is called ballistic training. Ballistic training is explained in the Journal article, and consists of using a stretching tube, usually attached to a fence or wall, and using the bands resistance to work out specific areas of the arm.

For example a player can simulate a throwing motion while gripping the band which will stretch out, and exercise the shoulder. Players can also do a number of other motions like placing their arm to their side while gripping the tube, and moving Just heir forearm back and forth to exercise the elbow. The article emphasizes that routinely doing these exercises before regular throwing significantly reduces your chances of injury, as well as increases a players velocity, and how far they are able to throw the ball.

The third way is to learn proper throwing mechanics, and to abide by the pitching regulations set by the leagues they play for. According to Erin Podolak in regards to pitch count regulations, “There are established guidelines by the USA Baseball Medical & Safety Advisory Committee for pitching and throwing, that the AAOS advises players to stick to closely. Pitches should be limited based on age. Players 8-10 years can throw 50 pitches a game, 11-14 years 75 pitches a game, 15-16 years 90 pitches a game, and 17-18 years 105 pitches a game.

Certain popular pitches should also not be taught until players are older. Fastballs can be taught at 8 years, but curveballs and knuckleballs should not be taught until players are 14-15 years, and sliders, splitters, and screwballs should be reserved for players 16 and older” (pointsports. com). One mistake that young baseball pitchers make is they start hrowing more advanced pitches like sliders, and curveballs before they have proper throwing technique, and arm strength.

The result of throwing pitches like this at a young age is a strain on the elbow in particular because these pitches require a snap of the wrist in order to be effective. If a player does not abide by these pitch count regulations, and does not apply proper throwing technique, it can result in injuring a baseball players arm for good! But this is not always avoidable, so what should a player do if he or she overuses the arm in a game and is in severe pain? The most ractical solution for arm over use is resting the arm after a long day of throwing.

Ice is also a great to use for soreness of the arm, because it reduces inflammation, and speeds up the recovery time, but in order for it to be effective the ice must applied right after a game. Also experts recommend taking ibuprophen to reduce inflammation, and to speed up the recovery process. Above all though, technique is the key to not having a sore arm after a long game of throwing. One of the biggest mistakes young players make is throwing the ball from a side arm position, forcing their arm to swing across the body.

This puts more strain on the shoulder than anything else, and is the main cause for kids throwing their arm out, and not being able to recover and throw correctly ever again. Players must learn early on how to throw the ball from an “L” position, meaning you raise the elbow above the shoulder, and rotate downward as you release the ball. In comparison the recommendations and information presented on preventing players from suffering injuries, provides insight in the different methods a baseball players can use in order to keep an arm prevent serious and long term injuries to the most important tool a baseball player an have, the arm.

As seen in the examples, more than one nutritional, physical workout, and injury prevention plan or method must be consulted in order to improve as an athlete, and more so as a baseball player. As Leo Durocher points out, “Baseball is like church. Many attend few understand”. This famous quote projects the message put forth in this research paper. The key to success is being able to analyze and understand all angles. One understanding is not sufficient and the more knowledge taken from various experts, fields, and sources, the more a player will nderstand the rules of the game and what it takes to remain competitive throughout their career.

In sum, adopting and applying different workout plans, nutritional plans, and injury prevention methods enables a baseball player, as well as other athletes, to excel to the next level of physical and mental performance. Work Cited Dorfman, H. A. , and Karl Kuehl. The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance. Lanham: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2002. Print. Carter, Andrew. “Effects of High Volume Upper Extremity Plyometric Training on Functional Strength Ratios of the Shoulder Rotators in Player” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 21. Throwing Velocity and Collegiate Baseball (2007): 208-15. Web. 30 Nov. 2013 Koester, Michael. “Adolescent and Youth Sports Medicine: a “Growing” Concern. ” Athletic Therapy Today (2002): Vol. 7 Issue 6. p. 6-12 7p. 24 hr Fitness. “24 hr Fitness Healthy Nutrition Guidelines”. 24 hr Fitness 2010. Web. 11 October 2013 . Washington, Leah and Westerman, Beverly and Sullivan, Patricia and Nashman, Honey. Recovery of “The Role of the Athletic Trainer in the Post-lnJury Psychological Collegiate Athletes”. International Sports Journal (2004): Vol. 104 llp. U. S.

Department of Agriculture and U. S. Department of Issue 2. p. 94- Health and Human Services. Edition, Washington, DC: U. S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Government Printing Office, December 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2013 Lozicki, Sheryl. “A Nutrition Plan For Athletes. ” Livestrong. March 4, 2010. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. http://www. livestrong. com/article/90034- nutrition-plan Dr. Ray D. Strand. “My Concept of Nutritional Medicine” Web. 15 Nov. 2013 http://www. raystrand. com/nutritional-medicine. asp J. Anderson et al. “Nutrition of the Athlete” December 2010. Web. 6 Nov. 013 http://www. ext. colostate. edu/pubs/foodnut/09362. html “Physical Activity and Older and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control. Web. 15 NOV. 2013 httpw www. ahrq. gov/ppip/activity. htm Simon, Harvey. “Physical Activity Recommended Excersise Methods”. New York Times. 26 May 2012. web. 15 NOV. 2013 P90x Extreme Home Fitness. Dir. Masen Bendewal. Perf. Tony Horton. 2004. DVD. Erin Podolak, “Top 5 Ways to Avoid Baseball Injuries” 2012, http://www. pointssports. com/ Colby Jay Renneisen English 1B Professor James December 5th, 2013 Tuesday-Thursday 7:30am-8:45am Class


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