Last night, I was all set to work my cousin out on softball drills to help her prepare for her high school team tryouts. To the observer, I may as well have been a pack mule. My heavy burden consisted of: several cones, a four-and-a-half-foot wooden balance training board and its accompanying two-and-a-half-foot diameter plastic disk (for proprioceptive and strength training), my well worn mitt slung over said balance board, and an ancient softball cradled under my chin. Because of South Florida’s rainy season, my cousin and I have been unable to work outside due to inclement weather, so we were anxious to work drills on this clear evening. She is a catcher and is preparing to make the high school team, so this summer we are working on strength and conditioning (including JumpSport Fitness Trampoline training, so stay tuned for my next post) and I’ve added in a few college-level drills to give her an edge (Thank you Boston College!).
As my cousin came up to the field – a perfect Florida AstroTurf field, soft with small bits of rubbery pebbles and a spongy quality – I see she is sporting a popular brand of women’s shorts that are known for their length, or lack thereof. This is new to me since she typically wears traditional netted, knee-length basketball shorts. I didn’t think anything of it initially, until the shorts quickly became an issue. It dawned upon me that “wardrobe malfunctions” can take place in the athletic world, too.
The short shorts and the waistband became an irritant and took my catcher down quickly. Halfway into our third Carioca, my cousin’s quick-footed steps gave way to mush. “These stupid shorts,” she grumbled as she looked down and pulled the bottoms of her shorts. “Let me do it,” I said, and pulled the hems of her shorts until we heard stitches pop. “Does that feel better?” She nods. I pull the other side.
“Do you want to move the practice inside [where it’s air conditioned and you don’t have to deal with chub rub]?” I ask. She thinks. She doesn’t want to disappoint me and I can see that she really wanted to practice drills. She was excited when I sent her a text earlier that day telling her to bring her mitt and bag of softballs.
I continued to assure her, “It’s better if you’re comfortable. We can do the drills another time.” Relief spread across her face.
I know what it’s like to be in a pair of too short shorts, and too short, short tight shorts – it’s miserable. Dressing appropriately for movement is crucial to your success, and key to the joy and beneficial execution of the movement. If you are not comfortable, you will a.) fidget and wish you were wearing something else, b.) perform your movements incorrectly to compensate for your discomfort since your mind is distracted, c.) put yourself at risk for injury, and d.) take the fun out of your workout. It’s important to be comfortable while working out for all the reasons mentioned above, so don’t be shy when you do feel restricted – stop the activity and change your situation to create a more positive experience.
Needless to say, my cousin and I had to bail on our drills. But hedging any negativity that could be remotely associated with the drills or the shorts or sneakers or mitts, was well worth abandoning ship. Whether for yourself, your class, your workout partner or your client, remember that exercise is a way of life that should be lived sustainably and with ebullient delight! To this end, I urge you to be mindful of dressing accordingly to increase your rate of success, and joy, while you take a half an hour or full hour to move your body. There are so many cuts, fabrics, and styles to choose from, so it will take some dedication in the fitting room (or visit a thrift store and experiment on the cheap, or host a clothing swap). I hope you learn to find clothes that are tailored to your workout needs!
Happy and Healthy!
Heidi Aspen Lauckhardt-Rhoades
Professional Fitness Instructor, ACE, AFFA, TRX, Indo, PIA, GROOVE
Dance and Creative Movement Productions
Writer and Social Media Correspondent
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