Stretching before you play softball loosens muscles and joints, helping to prevent injuries and improve your ability to perform on the field. Softball requires upper body use for pitching, batting and throwing. This can put a tremendous amount of strain on your shoulders, arms, wrists and back. No matter what position you play, stretching your muscles can help prevent injury.

Shoulder Stretches:

The most common injury for pitchers are shoulder and rotator cuff injuries. Loosen the muscles and tendons in this area by placing your hand behind you in the small of your back, palm out. Point your elbow outward. Grab that elbow with your other hand and pull it forward. Even if you're not the pitcher, chances are you'll be throwing the ball, and can benefit from this stretch.

Arm Stretches:

Stretches that help loosen your arm for throwing and batting will improve your swing and throw, as well as help avoid injury. Start with your arm straight out in front of you, palm down, and turn your palm outward as far as possible. Using your other hand, grab the rotated hand and rotate it further outward. You can also rotate your palm inward and do the same stretch.

Back Stretches:

Back injuries can occur from constant twisting of the trunk while throwing and batting. To stretch your back, try standard side bends. Raise your right arm over your head, lean to the left at the waist and then switch to the opposite side. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hips at a 90-degree angle. Turn your lower half to one side and then to the other.

Lower Body Warm-Ups:

Because you'll be running the bases and chasing down fly balls and line drives, your lower body needs stretches, as well. To stretch the legs, bend your knee and grab your foot behind you to stretch your quads. Sit on the ground with legs straight and reach for your toes to stretch your hamstrings. While sitting on the floor, bend your knees and touch the soles of your feet together. Then rest your arms on the inside of knees and push down to stretch the outer sides of your legs.

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