Fall marks the beginning of several sports seasons for all different ages. Of course, the most common sports starting up in the fall are:
However, several sports still sometimes play in the fall despite it being the “off-season,” like baseball, softball, lacrosse, and indoor track and field. Use these best practices to learn the risks of serious sports-related injuries this fall.
Even when temperatures begin to drop around the October/November mark, you should keep hydrating as if the temperatures were still blistering hot. Many pre-season training camps for sports like football and soccer occur in the heat of August, where players often experience fatigue and exhaustion from the weather. Hydration is the key to keeping your body prepared for the strenuous physical activities that go into your sport.
Your body needs water to function properly, so drinking water at every break in practice or a game that you can is recommended. Sports that occur indoors or in the water can be deceptive, as you may not feel the effects of dehydration as much. Make sure to be intentional about drinking water every time you exert yourself and during your rest and recovery period throughout the day. Take frequent water breaks if you begin to feel any symptoms of heat exhaustion or dehydration.
Sticking to a well-thought-out warm-up and cool-down routine will help your longevity and overall health when performing tough physical activities. A simple stretch routine that covers each of your muscle groups will help prevent muscle soreness and tightness, improve your form, and help prevent injuries. Try to use dynamic stretches, which are more movement-based and emphasize blood flow in major muscle groups, giving your body more oxygen and energy.
When cooling down, focus on breathing and moving your body. Like driving on the highway, you need a long on-ramp to speed up and a long exit ramp to slow down. Moving abruptly from rest mode to exercise mode can be dangerous.
Like warm-ups, conditioning your body in the off-season and staying in shape will alleviate many risks of injury when getting back out onto the field, court, pitch, pool, or other playing area. Using proper form when lifting, running, or working out will help develop the right muscles to support your movement and help you avoid falls or landing on body parts wrong. Even in collision sports, being more conditioned can help with taking or dealing big hits, giving you extra support and mass to rely on.
Proper conditioning will also lessen the risk of getting tired early on, which can lead to brain fog or mistakes that result in injury. When you are exhausted, your form is the first to go, no matter the sport. You may perform differently and will have less control of your body. Working with coaches in the offseason to help ensure your body is conditioned for the season is essential.
Using the right equipment is key to keeping your body and mind safe this season. Wearing the proper gear can help lessen the power of impacts, help you move more fluidly and efficiently, and shield you from the elements of the playing surface. In any sport, wear exactly what you need and check it regularly for cracks or breaks.
Washing and sanitizing your equipment regularly will help it stay in good shape while lessening the chances of infection. If you sweat on your equipment, always clean it. Proper footwear is also very important and should never be overlooked, as it can be the difference between playing and sitting out because of a lower-body injury.
Two-a-days can be some of the most intense and grueling practices. Even if you are not practicing this long, find time whenever you can to breathe and take a break. The greatest athletes in sports all knew when to sit and breathe for a minute. When you have downtime, take advantage of recovery and use every minute to get healthy. Your body needs time to heal itself before you can get stronger or better. Enjoy these tips, and take care of your body this fall!
Marcus & Mack