Athletes that have been involved in softball at a high level for most of their lives are accustomed to a certain level of day to day activity which might include fitness training, mental training and of course time on the field. Softball retirement often means a complete stoppage of activity.
The hours on the field and in the gym allows players to become accustomed to the level of activity and the intensity of competition. This is actually the goal of training, so when it is all over, you have to expect some effects. For this reason some players elect to continue playing at a much less intense level.
Some of the symptoms that an athlete may experience are:
- lack of appetite
- psychological depression
These symptoms might be considered extreme but if a player is retiring from a college program or international play, they are possible. Progressive lessening of training will assist in the transition keeping the body and mind active so it does not experience a potential shock. Many national programs will decrease the number of training sessions and the intensity progressively once the competitive season is over.
Participation in other sports is also very helpful as many softball players will have been focused entirely on the sport for much of their lives. This is also another reason why softball players should not be specializing so early in the game and eliminating other sports from their lives. Especially at the younger ages. By developing more diverse athletic abilities, their transition to other sports upon retirement will be that much easier.
It is important to consider the future career of players when they are young and when they are spending so much time on the field. They need to learn that life is actually not only softball and even if the the player does go to the Olympics or to the College World Series, there still needs to be balance. This will be very useful when retirement arrives.