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It All Starts From the Ground Up!

April 2nd, 2012  |  Published in News

Guest Blogger: Steve L. Rosenberg, DPM
Arch Specialist for Softball Factory
Instant Arches® Softball

Being Balanced Will Bring Out Your Natural Ability

It’s softball season, so hit the ground running and let the games begin.

The feet are the first thing that hit the ground and without balanced feet a player’s mechanics can be affected.  Standing flat footed at the plate and swinging off-balance can lead to frustration and not actualizing your full potential. The player’s timing is off because his lower half is not properly balanced and the balls of his feet are not on the ground. Having a balanced lower half will allow the hitter to become more fluid and confident and their rhythm, as well as timing, will be better. As kids continue to develop the good habits they learn through good coaching early on, their success will be parallel. As they get older and continue to pursue their dreams the little things to improve will be easier.

Having a fundamentally strong foundation is the first step. Even though all hitters go into slumps, they come out of them because they go back to basics working with hitting coaches who can break them down and then build them back up to give them more confidence. Hitting coaches work on developing muscle memory and mechanical triggers in players and when their lower half is balanced all the triggers and muscle memory work in sync.

As a pitcher it is the legs that drive the power and the feet drive the legs. If the pitcher’s feet are not balanced and they are not able to reach a balance point on the mound, the drive off the mound will be less powerful and that can affect the release point, elbow or shoulder. If the player’s biomechanics are not corrected early in his career it can translate into repetitive overuse injuries and lead to arm, elbow or shoulder injuries somewhere down the line.

I believe that most pitching injuries are due to repetitive overuse of one particular motion over a prolonged period of time. It probably starts as early as Little League because of poor mechanics. Players at a young age usually play multiple positions and can develop poor mechanics and bad habits if they are not careful.  If their throwing mechanics are off as a position player or pitcher, overtime muscles tendons and ligaments in the arm, elbow and shoulder will break down.  Therefore, when they begin to play high school ball and then advance to the next level, the soft tissue damage has already begun.

So the question is?

Do arch supports in softball cleats improve a player’s ability to have success at the plate, on the pitcher’s mound or in the field?

It is my opinion that it does.  In order for a player to be balanced from the ground up, it starts with their feet.

Arch supports are designed to place the ball of the foot on the ground as well as stabilize and balance the joints of the foot which in turn will strengthen the muscles of the foot and prevent the arch from collapsing. When the arch continually collapses during the normal course of the game the muscles in the arch could fatigue, tire, cramp or spasm.  Most of the time, it is because the player has flat feet. Flat feet can lead to a player’s inability to be consistent at the plate, in the field or on the mound. As a result the player’s performance could be compromised.  Therefore, it is important for feet to be supported in softball cleats and realize the role they play in the overall success of playing softball. Do not take them for granted.

There are many arch support products available today that players can choose from, one of these products is Instant Arches® Softball, the only softball specific arch support that can be placed in softball cleats and provide the support needed to keep players balanced and the balls of their feet on the ground.

Dr. Steven L. Rosenberg is the official Arch Specialist of Baseball Factory & Softball Factory. Dr. Rosenberg is a podiatrist in private practice spanning over 27 years, specializing in sports medicine, pain management and all other aspects of podiatry. His practice is located in Santa Monica, California. He has lectured worldwide and is a regularly featured blogger on the Huffington Post AOL. He has authored numerous articles on foot injuries, injury prevention, women’s shoe issues, foot biomechanics, and the treatment of foot problems through utilization of eastern and western medicine. Dr. Rosenberg is the CEO and President of Foot Products Enterprises Inc., which manufactures the unique arch product, Instant Arches® for baseball and softball. These Arches are also available for running shoes, all athletic shoes, sandals, flip flops casual and dress shoes. Dr. Rosenberg’s Instant Arches®, sold worldwide, are worn by men and women of all ages from preteens to adults. For more information on Instant Arches visit http://www.instantarches.com/ia-baseball.shtml.