You work hard all year long to be a lean, mean softball machine. Developing your body and your skills takes time, dedication, and hard work. Like a high-performance race car that needs the right stuff to win the race, you also need the right stuff to perform at the top of your game. Your body is the engine of the race car, your food and hydration are the fuel, and your apparel and gear are the tires and wheels. All are vital parts of a high-performance machine and all are important in helping you to be the best player you can be.
3N2 knows how to fuel top-performing athletes from head to toe. We’re here with helpful tips for fueling and outfitting your body so you can perform like a well-oiled machine.
Build Your Engine
As you go through your softball year you may want to split your training into specific phases. Doing so allows you to work year-round on improving your game and building your engine so it’s ready to rev up and smash the competition come game time. Here’s a general overview of how to train during the different phases of the softball year:
- Postseason: Time for some much-needed rest after a grueling season. Although your body and muscles need a little break, be sure to incorporate some strength work and cardio into your days so that you don’t lose muscle and stamina. The postseason is also a great time to check over your apparel and gear to replace things that have become too worn or repair those items that need a little TLC.
- Offseason: Ramp up your efforts and use this time for general strength training to build your muscles. Also work on your functional movement, flexibility, and endurance. Use this time to start gearing up for next season. Treat yourself to a new bag, replenish your supply of good softball socks, replace that old belt that’s no longer doing its job with a brand new belt, and get yourself a great pair of trainers in preparation for the preseason.
- Preseason: Now it’s time to really get down to business so you’ll be in top shape before the first pitch is thrown. Focus on achieving maximal strength and explosive power when strength training. Work on conditioning and continue to build your endurance. Run through your skill-work drills like there’s no tomorrow. As the season approaches get ready for grueling practices and back-to-back tournaments with new uniform components and practice apparel.
Fuel Up for Maximum Performance with Proper Nutrition for Softball Players
Now that you’ve spent the offseason and preseason building your engine, it’s time to fuel up so you can play hard all season long. Just as you wouldn’t dream of putting low-quality fuel in an expensive sports car, don’t put low-quality fuel into the high-performance machine you worked so hard to create. You will get from your body what you put into it. In more memorable terms – garbage in, garbage out. Eat well every day, not just on game days, to stay ready to perform. Here’s how to keep yourself nourished on game days and during long tournament weekends:
- Plan ahead: Playing one game and then immediately warming up for the next leaves little time to make good decisions about what you’re going to eat. When you’re tired, excessively hungry, or in a hurry you’re likely to just quickly grab something rather than taking time to think about putting the right fuel into your body. Concession stand food should be an occasional treat or a quick pick-me-up, not a means to fuel your body during a long day at the ball fields. Think about how many times a day you’ll be eating and plan accordingly by packing meals and snacks at home before you head out. Make sure you take a cooler and a bag with plenty of space for your gear and snacks. Keeping good, healthy food with you makes it easier to make the right decisions when you’re famished or getting the urge to snack. If you run out of time or forget to bring your own food, find out what’s in the area near the ball field. Many fast-casual restaurants have healthier options and most grocery stores have a decent selection of grab-and-go prepared foods.
- Eating healthy to have all day energy for a softball tournament: Softball takes a lot of energy so be sure to keep your tank fueled all day long. It’s important to eat well before, during, and after a game or practice in order to perform well and recover well. Low carb diets are becoming more and more popular, but athletes need carbs for energy. Athletes and low carb diets simply don’t mix. It’s okay to be choosy about your carbs, like choosing whole grains and higher nutrition carbs over white breads and pastas. Don’t shy away from carbs but also don’t “carb-load.” Eating consistently well rather than binging on carbs right before a game will help you stay fueled in a healthy, sustainable way.
- Protein and healthy carbs should be your go-to foods: Try to avoid highly processed and high sugar foods. Since you exercise a lot you do have extra calories to burn. Go ahead and enjoy “bad” foods…but do so in moderation and combine these with good, healthy choices. Top tip: good carbs several hours prior to gameplay, healthy proteins after.
- Food should make you feel good: Especially on tournament and game days, think about what’s going into your body and how those things will make you feel. Steer clear of foods that dull your mental acuity or cause you to feel bloated, sluggish, or tired. You need to be clear-headed and ready to react and perform in the moment.
- Hydration is vitally important: Nobody wants to feel sluggish and dehydrated on the field. Being well hydrated will help you to perform at your best and always makes exercise much easier. Think of water as the lubrication that keeps the whole machine moving smoothly. Get adequate liquids every day for the week leading up to a game or tournament rather than chugging a bunch of water the day of. Continue drinking water throughout games to keep yourself well hydrated. Sports drinks that have sodium and electrolytes are also helpful in staying hydrated. Top tip: begin hydrating well before gameplay. Hydrating only after exerting yourself is a constant game of catch-up.
Put the Wheels on and GO!
You built the engine; you’ve fueled your vehicle up…now let’s put some wheels on that baby and get ready to go! A winning race car will always have the best tires and wheels to maximize every lap around the track. Likewise, outfitting yourself with the best apparel and gear not only allows you to perform your best, it can also make you feel like a superstar. Here are 3N2’s favorite components to get you geared up for your best season yet:
- Our DOM-N-8 cleat is the latest in 3N2’s stellar fastpitch footwear lineup. Pro-performance cleats with an innovative ankle stabilization system keep your feet comfy so you can keep your head in the game. Rugged TPU bumper protects the toe from wear and tear while O-ZONE technology defends against odor. A ShimmerStep iridescent logo dazzles like the diamond you are.
- NuFit Knickers are the yoga-inspired, ultra-comfortable fastpitch softball pants of your dreams. Designed specifically for the female form, these pants have all the right moves in all the right places. 4-way stretch poly-spandex fabric is strategically placed in key areas of the thighs, calves, and hips so you can move freely and comfortably. A low-rise front and high-rise back means your pants will stay put and you won’t spend your time on the field fidgeting and pulling them up. Double-ply poly reinforcement on the knees and the outside of the legs gives you protection where it’s needed most. NuFit Knickers will take you everywhere from practice to game time and everywhere in between.
- The NuFit Infinity Bat Pack go to and from the field in style. A large main compartment has ample room for your helmet, glove, and plenty of snacks to keep you fueled throughout the game. Interchangeable padded straps give you the freedom to carry your bag on either shoulder while a handy swivel hook on top allows for easy hanging on fences. The bottom hook is a great place to hang your glove or helmet and two exterior bat holsters keep your bats at the ready.
Ready to blow the doors off the competition? Visit 3n2sports.com to find everything you need to cross this season’s finish line and take your victory lap!