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Student Athlete Fitness: How The Baseball Team and Softball Team Compare

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Student Athlete Fitness: How The Baseball Team and Softball Team Compare

Pascack Hills Weight Room. Photo by Eric Traub

Pascack Hills Weight Room. Photo by Eric Traub

Pascack Hills Weight Room. Photo by Eric Traub

Pascack Hills Weight Room. Photo by Eric Traub

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It’s no secret that Pascack Hills has a champion baseball team. Last year, the team took home the county title for the first time in thirty-one years, being named the best team in Bergen County. Along with that, they were the first Hills team since the late 80’s to complete the “Triple Crown”. The “Triple Crown” is when a team wins their league, county and state championships all in one season. It was a wildly successful and historical season for this Cowboys group. However, what is more of a secret is how the team is able to perform so well.

Talent is only one half of athletics. The other part, possibly the most important part, is fitness or training in order to build stamina, refine technique, etc. But how does the boy’s baseball team compare to the girl’s softball team? How do the two teams of very similar sports stack up in terms of staying fit? Who is better in terms of workouts: the boys or the girls?

Although baseball and softball are incredibly similar to one another (almost to the point of being identical), there are a few differences between the sports that could affect the types of warm-ups at practice or exercises to train a player’s muscles.

The biggest difference between the two is the pitching style. According to AmericanProfile, a baseball player pitches overhand or over the shoulder while a softball player pitches underhand. This pitching difference is due to the different ball shapes used for the respective sports. For example, a baseball is a smaller and firmer ball, one that also is more susceptible to spin. With a softball, the ball is bigger and a little bit softer and doesn’t provide the same amount of spin available for that of a baseball.

For that reason, the workout techniques of baseball pitchers and softball pitchers are quite different.

Hills junior Noah Kindler, an avid baseball fan and former baseball player, touched a little bit on these differences when stating, “Baseball pitchers really have to work out their arm and spinning techniques in order for the ball to have maximum movement. There is a lot of strength training that goes into this, most notably lifting. It is also important for these players to develop strong cores so they have the power to really get through their throwing motion. In terms of technique, they need to train their arm muscles to be able to spin the ball correctly and make sure not to potentially hurt those nerves.”

As Noah mentioned, baseball players focus a lot on strength and technique in order to enhance their performance once they get on the field. The same can be said for softball players, however there are a few differences about how softball players prepare.

Softball season begins in March and practices take place almost every day after school for about three hours. The girls warm up by running laps around the front gym and progressive throwing, which means throwing the ball back and forth with a partner as both people move farther away each time. Then, the team practices field positioning, hitting and playing the field.

Progressive pitching is how the players improve the range and force behind their throws. As the partners move farther away, the ball needs to travel farther and faster in order to reach its destination. In addition, the team also uses the weight room occasionally for conditioning.

Perhaps the biggest difference between baseball training and softball training though is that softball players train their legs muscles a lot in comparison to baseball players who train their arm muscles.

“When you’re playing the field you want to be quick on your toes and able to move fast,” said senior Alex Truszkowska. “We focus on leg work and running a lot especially at the end of practice as a final ‘push’ which can be tough.”

To stay fit on the off-season, players host “Open Gym” to practice batting, increase stamina, and work on skills for the season. In addition, some players also do a fall sport like cheerleading. Truszkowska says that she does cheerleading to keep her conditioning skills sharp and tone her muscles.

To conclude, both the Hills baseball and softball teams have been successful as of late. The softball team received a new on-campus field last year, while the baseball team is coming off one the most successful seasons in school history. Hills baseball and softball players are all naturally talented, but it is the constant work they put in off the field that is responsible for all this success.  In trying to answer the questions proposed at the beginning, one realizes that softball and baseball not only share many similarities, but many differences.

As a result, the workout regimens for these two sports are different. However, the biggest similarity between the two is that when these teams to step onto the field, they will make the student body proud to be Cowboys. Both the baseball team and softball team aren’t just playing for the school; they’re playing for themselves and the love of the sport. Training just comes with all of that.

“We are as good as we are because of how much work we put in,” said senior Jack Brodsky last year about the baseball team. “We are a group of guys who aren’t just playing to play for a varsity letter, or for the individual awards and stats, we do it because we truly love the game.”

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