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Flexibility

This includes 10 to 15 minutes of warm up exercises and pre- and post-game stretching activities.

 

"This stretching doesn't have to be anything fancy, but it needs to be done," says Werner. "A lot of people don't put enough effort into pre- and post-game stretching. But these stretching exercises, especially post-game, are really important to keep those stressed areas flexible and strong. That's some of the best protection against injury you can get."

Strength Training

Again, like the stretching, this is the same type of strength training that anyone would do for an overall, total-body workout.

 

"Baseball players concentrate on upper-body strength for throwing power," says Woodall. "But just like anyone else in training, they usually lift weights three or four times a week with a day off between sessions to allow the body to rebuild and rest."

 

Good Nutrition

Good nutrition and hydration are critically important to safe sports, says Werner.

 

"If you start drinking when you're thirsty, you're already behind the curve. Here in Florida, we have to contend with extremely hot weather, so hydration is something we focus on, but it is important for sports in all climates."

 

Just as important is a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, he says.

 

"Our teams has pre- and post-game meals together to get good nutrition, and we work with nutritionists to make sure the players are getting the kinds of foods they need."

Protect That All-Important Shoulder

"One thing we do is plyometrics to improve shoulder strength in players," says Goodall. This involves throwing a 4-pound ball against a large net rebounder, which returns the ball to the player.

 

Werner's players, including the position players, add a special series of exercises to their general workout. This is called the "Jobe's Rotator Cuff Series," and, as the name suggests, the exercises are designed to protect the shoulder structure known as the rotator cuff, which consists of the muscles and tendons that surround the top of the upper arm bone (humerus) and hold it in the shoulder joint, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. There are common signs of a rotator cuff injury, or tear:

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