Progressive relaxation for softball is a great way to prepare for a game and to take away any anxiety that may have come from your activities of the day or concerns about the upcoming game. Coaches can get the team together and guide them through this activity prior to a practice to get them used to relaxing and feeling what it is for their body to be relaxed. If they do not have experience with relaxation and mental training skills, it may be difficult the first few times to be able to totally relax or to feel the different aspects of the exercise.
Progressive Relaxation for Softball Exercise
1 Get in a comfortable position and close your eyes, taking a few moments to focus on your breathing and beginning to relax.
2. Tightly clench your right fist for about five seconds. Focus on the sensations in your hand and the feelings of muscular tension. Release the tension very slowly and gradually paying close attention to the different sensations. (You may find it helps to say to yourself “let go…” as you relax.) Take a moment to allow the feelings of relaxation to develop. Focus on the feeling of deep relaxation.
3. Now Tightly clench your left fist for about five seconds. Focus again on the sensations and tension in your hand. Release the tension very slowly and gradually.
4. Now clench your fist and tense your right arm, lifting it a few inches off the ground if you are lying down. Wait about five seconds and allow your arm to slowly sink down, heavy, and relaxed. Again, taking a few moments to become aware of the feelings of relaxation.
5. Now clench your left fist and arm. Hold it for about 5 seconds and allow it to slowly sink down relaxed and heavy.
6. This time, tense both arms at the same time. Hold it for about 5 seconds and then release slowly. Feel the weight of your arms as they rest on the surface.
7. Now, tense your shoulders up and tense the muscles of your neck. Again, wait a few seconds before gradually releasing the tension.
8. Turning your attention to you legs, tense your right leg as hard as you can, allow it to lift off the ground a few inches. After a few seconds slowly allow your muscles to relax as your leg returns to the surface, again,
9. Now tense your entire left leg as hard as you can allowing, it to lift off the surface. After a few seconds, allow your muscles to slowly relax again as your leg returns again to the surface
10. Now, this time tense both legs at once… Flex them as hard as you can. Hold it for a few seconds … and slowly allow them to relax and heavily sink down again … take a moment now, to feel the feelings of deepening relaxation
13. Take a deep breath, breathing from your abdomen, and hold it for about ten seconds before exhaling completely. Focus on the feelings of tension in your chest as you hold your breath, and the contrasting feelings of deepening relaxation as you let the breath out. Repeat three to five times.
14. Your whole body should be thoroughly relaxed now, but take a few moments to empty your mind and to allow the feelings of relaxation to spread throughout your body. Mentally scan your body for any remaining tension, or any tension that has crept back into the muscles, and allow yourself to let go of it.
15. You will probably find that your mind has become very calm and quiet as a result of the physical relaxation. If your mind is still active, however, try counting down from one hundred. Imagine that with each number you count your tongue is becoming more deeply relaxed and your mental voice is becoming fainter, and more lethargic, twice as tired and relaxed. Try to reach a state where your mental voice is to feeble to continue counting, leaving your mind calm, quiet and free from internal dialogue.