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Melina Strano FYP

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Essay Thesis

1. The main point of my essay is to help softball players have longer and healthier careers because injuries can be so detrimental not only in softball but in life and I think it’s important to take every precaution possible to try and avoid injuries.

2. The purpose of my essay is to educate my audience of young softball girls of the proper ways to train from a young age, and how to build up mental toughness in order to improve, and prolong athletic performance.

3. My audience is young softball players.

 

Thesis:

The problem with softball injuries is not due to lack training, or lack of muscle, but a problem that can be solved by age appropriate drills, and physical and mental toughness. By practicing the proper technique from a young age and building up mental toughness, not only will your performance be better, your career will be prolonged, and your body will be healthier long after you finish playing.

Is audience clear? I feel like my wording doesn’t really flow.

Research Journal #5

As much as softball is a physical game, it’s even more mental. There’s a little quote that’s always thrown around in sports and that quote is something along the lines of, “sports is 90% mental, and 10% physical.” As a player I couldn’t agree more. A sound mind is key to a healthy thoughts, and confidence. We need to take care of our minds just as much as we do with our bodies, so mental healthiness is a key factor of softball players. A former softball coach wrote an article pertaining to 6 mental performing tips that softball players can use to help themselves when they’re out on the field. The first tip he wrote was overcome fear of failure, which in my own words can be summed up as, it’s okay to make mistakes! Failure is part of the game, it’s gonna happen no matter what, and you can either learn from it, or be discouraged by it. It’s all about what you learn from your failure. The second tip is to make no excuses and accept responsibility when you fail, and when you succeed. Basically just always be accountable for what you do. A lot of the time players focus on the mistakes they make and let that affect them, meanwhile they’re done so much good but rarely acknowledge it.

 

The third is accept the fact that you will fail, you will make mistakes, but you will learn from them because failing is part of the game. If you can pick yourself up and move on when you fail, succeeding will be that much more gratifying. The fourth tip is be here, now, meaning play the game pitch by pitch. Don’t focus on the past game, don’t focus on future and what might happen later on, just worry about the play at hand. Take it one by one. The fifth is focus on the process, rather than the outcome. Not only is this tip relatable in sports, but it’s also relatable to life. But, in softball it’s important to make sure you do the little things correctly. Practice makes perfect and if you’re learning to do something different it’s not gonna come out perfect the first time. If you know that you’re working hard succeed at something whether it’s fielding or hitting, in due time it will come. The coaches last tip is develop routines to get you into the zone. Once you develop a process in which the way you work, you will always get that job done. Routines help us find balance, once we get used to doing a specific thing it creates a work ethic, and this ethic will help translate from practice into games. These mental tips are all so valuable for all softball players to be aware of since softball is an extremely mental game.
http://www.softballperformance.com/6-mental-training-tips-how-to-improve-your-mental-toughness/

Research Journal #4

https://softballisforgirls.com/2013/11/24/fastpitch-injuries-keeping-daughters-safe/

Although softball players ultimately control what they do and how they move their bodies, coaches are in charge of who plays, and who doesn’t, so they do have an impact. It is a coach’s responsibility to win games, but it’s also their responsibility to keep their players safe. Preparation is key, and it falls on both the players, and coach to make sure that everyone has prepared themselves properly. In the article I read, there are many key points highlighted in which coaches could help prevent injuries in their players. One way a coach can ensure the safety of his or her players is by requiring them to wear a mask on the front of their helmets. In most leagues, wearing a mask on the front of your batting helmet is mandatory. But once you get to the college level, wearing a mask is optional not matter what division, I, II, or III. Coaches have the power to make wearing masks on your batting helmet mandatory. As a matter of fact, my softball coach forces us to wear them and I love it. Hitting without a mask/cage on the front of your helmet is so dangerous , I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t wanna wear one. On TV I’ve seen plays where girls hit the ball right back at their face, or the pitcher accidentally hits them, and it’s not pretty. And it could all be avoided if they just wear a mask on their helmets.
Another point that is brought up is making sure that everyone’s equipment fits them properly. Softball players come in all different shapes and sizes, so what works for one, might not work for another. When it comes to helmets for batting, you want to make sure it’s not too loose around their head, but also not too tight. Getting hit with a ball when your helmet is too tight can cause more damage than good. Also catchers have to make sure that their gear fits correctly. If it’s too big or lose it won’t protect them properly, resulting in more injuries. So it’s important for coaches to know their players, what they’re comfortable in, and what they should be doing in preparation for injuries.

Research Journal #2

In my article, the biggest thing that was emphasized was age appropriate drills. Practicing the right technique is imperative for kids who are just starting out in softball. If a problem arises with their bodies at a young age due to lack of proper form, then it’ll only get worse as they get older. There was a chart in the article that showed how many pitches girls should be throwing at a specific age. I always thought since the windmill style motion was a natural motion, we didn’t need a maximum pitch count. But this article taught me that it’s crucial in young players, once they get older the pitch count increases more and more. There’s a section in the article where it discusses how overuse softball injuries can be prevented, and one of the suggestions was don’t play year-round. I found that most interesting because in cold weather states, it’s impossible to play year-round. During the winter it snows where I live, so if anything during the months November-February we’ll practice inside. In warm weather places like California, Texas, or Florida, softball is played year round simply because the weather allows them too. After thinking about it it made a lot of sense. Overuse is gonna happen to softball players who play long and often, but it’s important to rest your body. Cooler places have no choice but to shut it down, but hotter climates aren’t forced to.

The article discusses the use of radar guns, and how they should only be used once a pitcher reaches 15 years of age. This took me by surprise as well. In softball, a radar gun is a device that is used to measure the speed in which a pitcher throws, units are in miles per hour. It should only be used once the pitcher reaches 15 years old and up because younger pitchers will try to throw harder in order to get the highest MPH possible on the radar gun. But speed isn’t everything, and this is a concept that younger pitchers don’t understand. They just focus on throwing the ball hard rather than correctly. Once they mature and learn that mechanics come first and then learn how to throw different pitches, only then should they be using radar guns.

http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/STOP/Prevent_Injuries/Softball_Injury_Prevention.aspx

 

 

 

 

Research Journal #3

In my article I figured it would be a good idea to write about people whose lives have been changed by an injury in softball that could have been avoided. Immediately the first person who came to my mind was Bella Picard. Bella was a sophomore on St. Joseph’s Division I softball team, and on April 18th, 2015 Bella’s life was changed forever all because of one play. She was playing a doubleheader against Fordham University at Fordham, and she was on first base. Her coach gave her the hit and run sign, so the girl who was up to bat was supposed to do everything possible to make contact with the ball, no matter where it was pitched, while Bella stole second base at the same time. Bella stole second, but the girl who was up to bat didn’t make contact, so the catcher threw down to second. Bella made an aggressive head first slide going into second base and the throw from the catcher tailed a tad bit into Bella’s baseline, causing the short stop to step in her running path. Bella’s head collided with the shortstops knee and she instantly fell unconscious. After a few moments she awoke and at first she was unresponsive but she came to. Even moreso she wanted to prove to her coaches and teammates that she was fine and more than able to play so she ran a couple sprints behind the opposing dugout. Because the collision was so intense.

 
Terri Adams, Bella’s coach suggested that she went to the hospital to get checked out. Her situation proved much worse than what it appeared. She fracture her fifth cervical vertebra and had heavy swelling in her spine. 3 days later, Bella woke up unable to move the entire right side of her body. Doctors discovered that her fracture was millimeters away from nicking her spine and paralyzing her completely. After a successful surgery, doctors told her it would take about 2 or 3 years before she could walk again. Her collision with the opposing team’s shortstop was equivalent to that of the force of her getting into a car accident. Ever since then Bella has been on a road to recover every since then. I found out about her story on Instagram and in my opinion she’s one of the inspirational people. This entire accident could have been avoided, had Bella slid into second base FEET first. More injuries occur when people slide head first because you’re exposing more vital parts of your body, like your head, neck, arms, and back. Very rarely do injuries occur from sliding feet first, and if an injury does occur it’s usually something minor like a sprained or rolled ankle. I’m not saying you should never slide head first, but in a close contact play like that, sliding feet first should be instinctual. Sliding feet first would have saved her college softball career.

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Research Journal #1

http://journalstar.com/niche/star-city-sports/health-and-fitness/dynamic-stretching-for-injury-prevention-improved-performance/article_4018d2a5-e8e2-52cc-b271-27973c363914.html

Old me: YO MEL what’s good?

Present me: Nothing much dude, just trying to get my thoughts in order for the freshman paper.

Old me: Oh word that sounds awful. What’s it about?

Present me: Injury prevention in collegiate softball and baseball players.

Old me: Sounds boring af. You can’t prevent injuries that stuffs like, inevitable.

Present me: That’s what I used to think but there’s actually a lot of things you can do.

Old me: lol yeah okay like what??

Present me: Dynamic stretching. It’s when your stretch by constantly moving your body. Some dynamic stretches include knee hugs, butt kicks, forward lunges, backward lunges, all that.

Old me: Okay stretching is common sense duh how does that help?

Present me: Woah easy there. Dynamic stretching helps elongate muscles,improves flexibility, mobility, coordination, and range of motion. And you always wanna do dynamic stretching BEFORE a workout.

Old me: Okay so stretch, workout, and go eat a protein shake right?

Present: Nope, even after you workout you wanna stretch. Though after a workout you wanna do static stretching, NOT dynamic. Static stretching helps improve muscular strength, muscular tone, and muscular endurance.

Old me: You stretch twice? Alright that’s whack what are you even talking about?  

Present me: Even after a workout you wanna do static stretching, which is holding a stretch for about 10-30 seconds just at the point where it feels a little uncomfortable. It helps the body relax and return to a state of rest.

Old me: Oh word, that actually sounds like, useful.

Present me: I know, and it applies to both softball and baseball players, so it’s a win win.

Old me: That’s sick! Well good luck on your paper bromigo, I’m gonna go to McDonalds

Present me: UM WAIT FOR ME!!

 

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High School Policy

So I went to Brewster High School in NY and overall it was a pretty good experience. There were many rules and regulations that were standard and seemingly normal to me. All except for one; we had a rule that once you got to school, you weren’t allowed to leave and come back to school without being reprimanded. The only time is was okay to leave would be if a parent picked you up, if you gave in a note, things like that. But the reason this rule bothered me was because as a senior, I had about 3 free periods in my day, 1 of those being lunch. And I think it’s safe to assume that High School lunches aren’t the most enticing looking meal. So for lunch I would have enjoyed myself more if I could go off school grounds and get something edible to eat. It’s a free period anyway, and it’s not like all the food locations were miles away from my school, there was literally a pizzeria, deli, mcdonald’s, and all kinds of chain places down the road. Plenty of people, myself included broke this rule several times because we just wanted to eat some decent food for lunch. Thankfully I didn’t get caught but my friends did and they got 2 days of in school suspension which is ridiculous. Our class periods were 39 minutes long so we had more than enough time. And every time we did go and come back we were never late, we’re practically adults I think we should have been trusted to go off campus for a little bit and come back.

 

high-school-high-school-sucks-demotivational-poster-1283058649

Typical Senior High School Day

Thinking back high school seems like forever ago. Nonetheless I remember waking up for school like it was yesterday. My schedule was laid out so I go in late and leave early everyday, senior perks. I would wake up every morning around 8, get ready in about 20 minutes, and drive myself to school. I would try to get there on time, but realistically I was late almost everyday even though it only took me literally 2 minutes to get to school haha. So I’d get to school and as soon as I walk in I was always greeted by Mrs. Patty, one of the nicest ladies in the school. She was in charge of signing people in and out of school, but students could just walk in. She would usually say something along the lines of “Late again Mel??” and I would always go yup haha. Then I’d go through the motions of attending my 7 classes. My school was pretty small so odds are I always knew someone in my class. In between class we had 4 minutes so in those 4 minutes I would go to my locker to get my books and talk to my friends since their lockers were basically on top of mine. Lunch was always a good time because in our cafeteria we had a senior lounge with some tables, a couch, a TV that always had some ratchet show playing (Jerry Springer) and it was only for seniors. I knew almost everyone in my grade so it was a chill hangout spot. After that I’d attend 2 more boring classes of nonsense, then my last class of the day was my favorite, NJROTC. Commonly called Rot-C it was by far the best class ever. It stands for Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and it was a class where we learned about the Navy, their values, things like that. Once a week we had to wear our uniforms which were fresh af. The best part about it was the teachers, who weren’t even teachers to me they were friends. Commander Waidleich, and Chief Vlangus, both were retired Navy veterans. Easily 2 of the most influential people in my life. After ending on a high note I would go home and change into my practice clothes since I had softball practice everyday after school. After practice I would either drive some underclassmen home, or go get food, or sometimes both. Practice was only 2 hours and it was actually fun in my opinion since I was playing with girls from my school. Then I’d go home, shower, do homework, eat dinner, and go to bed. And that was pretty much it.

 

brewster-high-school-panoramic

Earliest Childhood Memory

I don’t remember my a whole lot about my childhood, there’s kinda just a bunch of bits and pieces that stand out more than others. But thinking back to the very first thing I do remember when I was a kid, was when I was in preschool/daycare. The daycares name was Tots-N-Us and the first thing I can remember was in the spring, we played kickball with Ms. Lizzie’s big purple ball that she brought from home. Even as a kid I was competitive so I remember trying to kick the ball as far and hard as I could. Ms. Lizzie pitched for both teams because she was the only one capable of actually rolling the kick ball well enough for us to kick it. She wore big blue overalls with a ruffly purple shirt (purple was her favorite color), and her hair was dark and super curly, like ramen noodles. She was rather tall so when my team was on defense I remember I would stand right next to her because it was particularly hot out that day, and her shadow provided me with a little bit of shade for a short while. After kickball we all went inside and ate ice pops and just cooled off for a bit. When we finished, we put our bathing suites on because it was sprinkler day, and I was HYPED. I was so hot so I couldn’t wait to get outside so once they let us out I was gone. I sprinted through all those sprinkles like there was no tomorrow. In fact, I was running so fast that I actually slipped on the wet grass and on the way down my knee banged into my lip and made it all puffy. I started crying and Ms. Lizzie ran over and I remember sobbing into her overalls. She brought me inside and gave me a spiderman coloring book because she knew that spiderman was (and still is) my absolute favorite. I gave her a hug and told her I loved her and that she was my favorite person in the whole wide world. That’s basically the first thing I can ever remember, Ms. Lizzie was the original GOAT in my life.

 

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